Robert Schumann (1810-1856) was one of the most brilliant composers of the so-called ‘Romantic Generation’ – the generation of composers born in the first decade of the 19th century (in addition to Schumann, it includes Chopin, Mendelssohn, Berlioz and Bellini). Schumann’s imagination and inquiring mind led him to compose some of the most original music of his time. His songs and piano music are particularly outstanding but he also made and important contribution to chamber music and the symphony. Schumann even wrote an opera, the little-known Genoveva. In addition to composing, Schumann briefly pursued a parallel career as a music journalist and was founder of the New Journal for Music, a magazine which helped promote the careers of Chopin, Berlioz and the young Johannes Brahms. At the age of 25 Schumann fell in love with the pianist Clara Wieck, a woman nearly ten years his junior. They were married five years later and had a family of eight children, three of whom lived until the 1920s and 1930s. Schumann’s mental health was often precarious and after a suicide attempt in 1854 he was hospitalised. His mental and physical condition deteriorated further and he died two years later.

© Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra