Robert Schumann (1810-1856) was an important Romantic composer from Germany. He was also a music critic and the editor of The New Journal of Music. He helped many musicians like Chopin, Brahms and Schubert.
When he was 18 he studied law at university, but soon decided to follow a career in music. He studied piano with Friedrich Wieck and later married Wieck's daughter, Clara who was a very famous pianist.
When Robert was 22 he injured his right hand and decided to devote himself to writing and composing. He was aware of two sides in his personality which he named Florestan and Eusebius. Florestan was active and extroverted, while Eusebius was more quiet an dreamy. These personalities are often expressed in his music.
In his 40s Schumann struggled with bipolar disorder and spent his last years in a mental hospital. He only lived to be 46 years old.
Schumann composed an important set of thirteen pieces for piano called Scenes from Childhood. He wrote them when he was 28 years old. One of the most popular is "Traumerei", or "Dreaming".
"Traumerei" by Robert Schumann - performed by Lang Lang at Carnegie Hall.
Meanwhile, my students are in the early stages of their Young Composers project. Last week titles and poems emerged, using The Seasons as inspiration. Some of the younger students learned to discover the rhythm of their words as the starting point for a composition. Good start Raphaelia and Meghan!