Clara Josephine Wieck was born in Leipzig, Germany, in 1819. Her father, Friedrich, was a well-respected piano teacher. As soon as he detected Clara's talent, he encouraged her to perform.
Friedrich was a strict man who was difficult to please. Clara's parents actually divorced in 1824, quite unusual for the time. In those days, children were considered property of the father, so Clara stayed with Friedrich.
She gave her first public concert when she was 11 years old. Clara became famous for her talent, and was one of the first pianists to perform all her concerts from memory and used no music. She was also well-known for premiering contemporary works of her friends and colleagues, like Robert Schumann and Felix Mendelssohn, as well as cultivating the public's interest in Bach and Beethoven's music.
Clara met Robert Schumann when she was 8. Robert took piano lessons from her father, Friedrich, and boarded at the Weicks' house for a year.
Clara and Robert married ten years later, despite vocal opposition from Friedrich.
Clara and Robert had eight children. Robert struggled with severe mental illness throughout his life, which ended in an insane asylum in 1856.
On today's Learning to Listen, hear more details about Clara along with her music, Robert's music and a Brahms piano concerto dedicated to Clara.
If you can't catch Learning to Listen on the air at noon, you can stream the audio here after 1 p.m.