Schumann, Robert

Robert Schumann
June 8, 1810 – July 29, 1856

German composer Robert Schumann was deeply invested in the Romantic tradition of composition, so much so that he invoked separate personalities when writing: one boisterous, the other reticent. He strove to include psychological themes in his works, and to convey mood and meaning in everything he wrote.

Originally destined for a career in law, Schumann found himself drawn toward romanticism. His father was a bookseller, and young Schumann soaked in the romantic nature of novels of the time. He shifted to studying music, studying piano privately until an injury forced him to learn composition instead. He composed relentlessly, mostly shorter works, although some symphonies exist. He held various teaching posts, but the role did not suit him, and he did not meet with much success.

Mental issues were well known in his family, and before long Schumann began to exhibit manic-depressive behavior. He attempted suicide by launching himself into the Rhine, for which he was institutionalized. He died in an asylum, in 1856.

Notable works:
Piano Concerto in A minor
Symphony #1 in B-flat Major
Symphony #3 in E-flat Major