Schumann, Robert

1810 - 1856

German composer and pianist. With Chopin and Liszt he developed much of the technique of Romantic piano music. His wife, Clara Schumann), became the most celebrated woman pianist of her time.

Born in Zwickau, Germany in 1810, Robert Schumann started his musical education on the piano. At sixteen he entered the University of Leipzig to study the law; but this didn't last long, and soon he had left the school to pursue music with all his energies.

His earliest compositions were piano pieces, but he also wrote a popular piano concerto, several symphonies, and chamber music. He wrote over 130 songs, including the gorgeous Widmung, and threw himself into his first symphonic projects.

In the early 1840s, Schumann began to suffer from mental illness; even while accepting a position at Mendelssohn's conservatory in Leipzig, his brain was beginning to deteriorate. He attempted suicide, and was committed to an asylum in Bonn.