Today’s Google Doodle honors Clara Schumann, a German-born composer and pianist whom many consider to be one of the best and most influential of the romantic period. She began her composing career in 1831, and by the time she was fourteen she had written a piano concerto. She first performed that concerto at the age of 16.
But it wasn’t really her compositions that left a lasting memory on the public, at least not at first. It was her skill as a pianist that set her apart from contemporaries. She is credited with being the first concert pianist to play from memory (something that would become standard). She was also very influential in shifting the type of pieces concert pianists played from “bravura” pieces (those that were technically difficult, performed to showcase the pianist’s skill) to the works of Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, and other heavy hitters.
Schumann married fellow composer Robert Schumann, and together they worked to bring one Johannes Brahms to the public. Clara Schumann was the first pianist to play many of Brahms’ pieces.
Schumann was born on September 13th, 1819 and died on May 20th, 1896 of a stroke. Today marks her 193rd birthday.