Cover image for Clara Schumann : piano virtuoso
Clara Schumann : piano virtuoso
Reich, Susanna.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Clarion Books, [1999]

Physical Description:
ix, 118 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Describes the life of the German pianist and composer who made her professional debut at age nine and who devoted her life to music and to her family.
General Note:
Includes index.
Reading Level:
1060 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 7.6 2.0 29528.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 8.4 5 Quiz: 16462 Guided reading level: NR.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library ML3930.S385 R45 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
Newstead Library ML3930.S385 R45 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Biography
Audubon Library ML3930.S385 R45 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Biography

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A piano prodigy, Clara Schumann made her professional debut at the age of nine and had embarked on her first European concert tour by the time she was twelve. Clara charmed audiences with her soulful playing throughout her life. Music was a constant source of inspiration and support for this strong and resilient woman. After the death of her husband, Robert Schumann, Clara continued her brilliant career and supported their eight children. Clara Schumann's extraordinary story is supplemented with her letters and diary entries, some of which have never before been published in English. Gorgeous portraits and photographs show the members of Clara's famous musical community and Clara herself from age eight to seventy-six. Index, chronology.

Author Notes

Susanna Reich is the author of Clara Schumann: Piano Virtuoso, which was named an ALA Notable Children's Book, a YALSA Best Book for Young Adults, a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, and a Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People. She lives with her husband, author Gary Golio, in Ossining, New York. For more information please visit

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 6^-10. Here's the stuff movies are made of: Clara Wieck gave her first piano recital at age nine in Leipzig in 1828. It was the beginning of a lifetime of concert tours across Europe to wild adulation. Her father was autocratic enough to cause her mother to divorce him in an age when women had no rights in a separation, and Clara had to sue him to get permission to marry and to get back some of the fortune she had earned. Clara's husband, composer Robert Schumann, was a pupil of Wieck's: Robert's depression led to his death in an asylum, but he fathered eight children with Clara, and she played and delighted in his music all her life. Goethe praised Clara when she was 12; as an adult she was close to Liszt and Mendelssohn, and a friend and inspiration to the young Brahms. Many illustrations bring life to this account, which is based in part on the life long research and writing on Clara Schumann done by Nancy B. Reich (the author's mother). A full, colorful, biography of a fascinating artist. --GraceAnne A. DeCandido

Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8-A compelling portrait of the 19th-century child prodigy who became a remarkable composer and performer, enlivened with personal letters, paintings, and photographs. (Apr.) (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8-A thorough, well-researched, and creatively illustrated biography of a child prodigy. Clara Wieck was born in Leipzig, Germany, in 1819. Her troubled yet accomplished childhood is related in detail, as is her courtship and marriage to composer Robert Schumann, a student of her tyrannical father. Reich gives ample attention to their life together, including their many children, and also writes of Robert's eventual battle with mental illness. The book also offers descriptions of the Schumanns' many friendships with other composers and musicians of the day, including Brahms, Liszt, and Mendelssohn. The rich, full life of this remarkable woman is illuminated by excerpts from letters written by her and those close to her as well as excerpts from her diaries. Black-and-white illustrations include many portraits and photographs of her and her family as well as programs and advertisements from her performances. A fine complement to Barbara Allman's Her Piano Sang (Carolrhoda, 1996), which is for slightly younger readers.-Carol Fazioli, The Brearley School, New York City, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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