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Clara Schumann at the Piano

Beverly Serra-Brooks Performances and Compact Disc

Clara Today | Kudos for Clara | Piano Discography

"CLARA SCHUMANN AT THE PIANO" is a multi-media, multi-disciplined, historical blend of the traditional Piano Recital and Theater that was designed to educate your audience to the stories and faces behind the music we call Romantic, to excite the audience to the depths and beauty of romantic music and to entertain audiences of all demographic variances.

Actress/Pianist Beverly Serra-Brooks creates an electrifying journey into the life and performances of Clara Schumann, one of the most celebrated pianists and musical personalities of all times. Clara Schumann, the wife of Robert Schumann, fierce competitor to Franz Liszt and intimate confidant of Johannes Brahms was not only ahead of her time in that she sustained a family as well as a career that spanned over 40 years but was also sought out and surrounded by all the great musical innovators of her generation.

"CLARA SCHUMANN AT THE PIANO" is fully scripted, staged, researched and costumed to the late 19th century. The sets were designed and built by the Pasadena Playhouse. The show is 2 hours in length with 3 scene changes and 3 costume changes. It is designed for easy load-in and load-out with a minimum of technical requirements. Written, Produced and Directed by Lee Brooks and the Executive Producer is Alfred Joyal. This production has received standing ovations everywhere it has played.

Beverly Serra-Brooks, Pianist/Actress

Ms. Serra-Brooks was recently featured on National Public Radios program "Performance Today" in an Interview and Performance of her One Woman Piano Histro-Drama about the life and performances of Clara Schumann entitled "CLARA SCHUMANN AT THE PIANO." This cutting edge mix of Theater and Recital has been enthusiastically received in San Francisco, at the Spreckles Theater in San Diego, the Historic Lobero Theater in Santa Barbara, Japan-America Theater in Los Angeles, Los Gatos, Vallejo, Montreal, Arizona and Connecticut where she was a National Finalist in the Simone Belsky Piano Competition.

American Pianist Beverly Serra-Brooks has also been a Guest Artist on the List-Glen Festival Young Artist Series, Kawai-America & Cerritos College subscription series, Fullerton Symphony Concert Series, Prescott College Elks Theater 90th Anniversary Series, Verde Valley Concert Association Series, Gila Valley Concert Series in Arizona and a recipient of an American Conservatory at Fontainebleau, France Performance Scholarship, where she was featured in the famed Salle du jeu de Paume Recital Series. Ms. Serra-Brooks is a winner of numerous prizes and awards including the Harpo Marx, James Irvine and Pillsbury Foundations Music Awards, the Music Arts Club, an International Institute for Chamber Music Fellowship in Germany and the Schnabel Masterclass Competition at the Royal Conservatory in Toronto, Canada. Currently, Ms. Serra-Brooks' performances are being featured on Air-Canada International flights as part of their "Concert Hour" entertainment channel and next season she will perform in Florida, Boston, New York, Tokyo and Washington, among others.

A Pasadena Ca., native, Beverly has concertized in Austria, Germany, France and across the United States as well as Guest Artist appearances in the American New Music Consortium's Concert Tour of Italy. Beverly's piano coaches include Dr. Reginald Stewart at the Music Academy of the West, Leonid Hambro at California Institute of the Arts where she received her BFA, Michel Beroff and Idil Biret at the American Conservatory at Fontainebleau, France, an M.M. at California State University at Northridge and in Austria with Jorg Demus.

"Clara Schumann at the Piano" by Beverly Serra-Brooks
Spring 1996 Tour & Residences

Morgan - Wixson Theater
Thursday January 18, 1996 8:00pm 200 Seats
Bill Wilday
2627 W. Pico
Santa Monica, CA

Indian Wells Valley Concert Association
China Lake Naval Weapons Center Auditorium, 1,200 seats
Monday January 22, 1996, 10:00am & 7:30pm
Residency performance & Clara Schumann At The Piano
Mr. Carl Helmick, President
P.O. Box 1802
Ridgecrest, CA 93556-1802

California Institute of the Arts
January 26, 1996 Clara Schumann At the Piano
Laura Keenan
24700 Mcbean Parkway
Valencia, CA 91355

City Of Enumclaw Arts Council
Enumclaw High School Performing Arts Center, 850 Seats
Friday February 2, 1996 Residency Performance & Masterclass
Saturday February 3, 1996 7:30pm Clara Schumann At The Piano
Ms. Mary Mclaughlin, Executive Director
226 Semanski St.
Enumclaw, WA 98022-3091

Pasadena City College Music Dept.
Artist Residency February 5-15, 1996
Masterclass / Lectures / Recitals

Farmington Civic Center, 1,200 seats
Friday March 15, 1996 7:30pm Clara Schumann At The Piano
Mr. Dan Hansen, Supervisor
200 West Arrington
Farmington, New Mexico

Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center, 450 seats
Sunday March 24, 1996 2:00pm Clara Schumann At The Piano
Dr. Kathleen Monahan, Administrator
P.O. Box 5004
324 East Pine St.
Tarpon Springs, Fl 34688-5004
813-938-3711 ext. 203

Bentley College - "Past Lives - Present Tense" Performing Arts Series.
Lindsay Auditorium, 850 seats
Wednesday March 27, 1996 7:30pm Clara Schumann At The Piano
Mr. Jim Morris , Director
175 Forest St.
Waltham, Massachusetts 02154-4705

To Schedule Concerts, contact:

Lee Brooks
Hummingbird Artist Management
2805 Mataro St.
Pasadena, CA 91107
President / Artist Representative

Information on Beverly Serra-Brooks's Compact Disc of Clara Schumann:

"Romantic Variations"

Clara Wieck Schumann: Variation Op. 20
Clara Wieck Schumann: Quartet of Characteristic Pieces Op. 5
Robert Schumann: Symphonic Etudes Op. 13
Frederic Chopin: Ballade Op. 52 No. 4
Where to purchase the CD:

Hummingbird Artist Management
2805 Mataro St.
Pasadena, CA 91107

"Listening to Women--& Men" Radio Program for the Cape

"My program is called "Listening to Women--& Men." It's a classical music program. I have 3 hours each week (Tuesdays from 1 to 4 PM) and devote half of my time to music written by women (we have classical music Sunday through Friday 1-4 PM). I frequently play Clara Schumann's music on my program. It is so beautiful and shamefully neglected! I make it a point to include other under-represented composers--particularly Afro-American ones. We are a 6000 watt station broadcasting from Provincetown on Cape Cod. We reach 99% of the Cape and some other parts of Eastern Massachusetts. We are WOMR (standing for "Outermost Radio") at 92.1 FM--all volunteer, non-commercial, community radio and have been on the air for nearly 14 years."

Excerpted from correspondence with Jeanne Brossart at

Genesis Records, Inc., Los Angeles

"I am president of Genesis Records, Inc., a record company devoted to issuing recordings of neglected nineteenth century repertoire with an emphasis on the piano. I issued around 65 albums from 1970 to 1978. Now I am reissuing them on CD. I plan to make new recordings also."

Regarding the 1858 image of Clara: "About 20 years ago I bought two albums of family photographs from Sothebys in London. One album has a large decorative steel "ES" on the front. There are original photographs of the Schumann children along with family members of Julie Schumann's husband and some unidentified persons. The album had been picked over as there are a number of missing photos." The image "is a carte taken by G. & A. Overbeck of Düsseldorf. Someone has written on the reverse side of the photo 'Photo: c. 1858 Subject age: c. 39 (Robert d. 2 yrs earlier).' "

Excerpted from correspondence with Robert Commagere at

Notes on Penny Thomas, PhD.

"I have a PhD in musicology, I have been studying women composers (and women in music) since I discovered Clara while working on my Master's degree at Georgia State University in the '70's (often with discouragement from some professors - but then I got the same discouragement about American music!). My dissertation is on Claire Reis, founder of the League of Composers. I organized a symposium on women composers in '89 at the University of Florida (and there was some Clara on that). A friend of mine still at UF is organizing another symposium for March 16-18, 1997. I may do this same program, or I may try to do a program of music by 'young, up and coming composers'. When I get more details about the symposium, I'll let you know.

"I had thought that women composers were pretty well known by now, but really got a surprise at the Southern Chapter meeting of the College Music Society this year. A (male) professor overheard me discussing this program, and promptly started lecturing me on how we should not study women composers because they were simply not good enough or important enough! He was lucky the break was over and we had to go to the next session, because he had just started in on Clara and I was ready to sock him! And another professor told me he had to teach a course on women composers the next semester and had no idea where to start! I guess we have a long way to go after all."

July 20 Olympic Concert info

Excerpted from correspondence with Penny Thomas at

Translation of Clara & Robert Correspondence

Hildegard Fritsch, Associate Professor of German at Kent State University, has written regarding the ongoing translation of The Complete Correspondence of Clara and Robert Schumann: "My colleague, Dr. Ronald L. Crawford and I have published volume I of the Complete Correspondence of Clara and Robert Schumann which contains letters written by Robert Schumann and Clara Wieck Schumann between 1832 and 1838, as well as an introduction and an index of people, places and compositions. We have completed the translation of volume II in March, 1996, and expect that it will appear before the Fall, 1996. We have contracts with Peter Lang Publishing, Inc. to publish the translation of all three volumes. Our translation was supported by a grant from the Kent State University Research Council."

Weissweiler, Eva, ed. The Complete Correspondence of Clara and Robert Schumann. Translated by Hildegard Fritsch and Ronald L. Crawford. Critical ed. Vol. 2. New York: Peter Lang, 1996. [To buy]


Schumann Correspondence of 1839

The second volume of the Schumann correspondence contains letters written by Robert Schumann (1810-1856) and Clara Wieck Schumann (1819-1896) in 1839, documenting the major events of that year : Clara's concert tour and stay in Paris, Friedrich Wieck's continued vehement opposition to Robert's courtship of his daughter, Clara and Robert's legal action to obtain the court's consent for their marriage, Clara's reunion and stay with her mother in Berlin, and the death of Robert's brother Eduard.

For more information, contact:

Hildegard Fritsch, Associate Professor
Modern and Classical Language Studies
Kent State University
P.O. Box 5190
Kent, OH 44242-0001


The Clara Schumann Society wishes to extend to Professor Hildegard Fritsch warmest thanks for the donation in November 1996 of a copy of the second volume of The Complete Correspondence of Clara and Robert Schumann, which she translated into English. Professor Fritsch is highly commended for her significant contributions to the cause of Clara Schumann.

Sharon Guertin Shafer, Pianist and Professor, Trinity College, Washington, D.C.

Congratulations on the Clara Schumann site and the Clara'96 Campaign. What a wealth of information and a great tribute to a gifted performer and composer. I attended a music technology workshop presented by the College Music Society at Indiana University a few weeks ago. We had to construct a homepage as one of the projects. Mine is very simple, just following the provided template, but it helped me to appreciated what authors such as yourself have accomplished.

I thoroughly enjoyed your article "Composers' Corner" in the June 1996 issue of the IAWM Journal. Best wishes on your continuing research and performing.

Sharon Guertin Shafer
Professor of Music, Program Chair
Trinity College, Washington, D.C.
Recital Program | Home Page | Email

Kerwin Productions: "Four Short Pieces" A Feature Film of Clara Schumann

We recently stumbled across your "Clara Schumann Society" website while performing some online research on Clara Schumann.

Kerwin Productions/The Midsummer Partnership, L.L.C. is a feature film production company ("The Garden," next year's upcoming "A Midsummer Night's Dream") whose producers are currently in development on our next major theatrical motion picture, "Four Short Pieces," based on the life of Clara. The film is currently in the writing/development stage at our studios, and is planned to go into production after the completion and distribution of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" next year.

The executives at our company were originally attracted to the idea of developing Clara's life into a film last year. We feel that Clara is a sadly underappreciated composer whose life and music need to be communicated to the world on a more significant scale than they have been in recent years.

We are delighted to become aware of the existence of the Clara Schumann Society, and are hopeful that our company can work in tandem with the efforts of your organization, especially with respect to research, historical accuracy, etc.

"Four Short Pieces" is in the early developmental stages. Our company is currently in extensive pre-production on A Midsummer Night's Dream, which shoots in the spring. After this, "Pieces" will be on the front burner, so to speak. As you may or may not know, it usually takes about two years for a film to be made, from concept to completion. It will therefore be a while before "Pieces" shoots... It would've been nice to have a wide release date during the 100th Anniversary year, but alas, it is not to be.

The "four short pieces," or "Quatre pieces fugitives," are from Clara's Opus 15 and consist of four brief piano solo pieces. The third, "Andante espressivo," is my personal favorite of all of Clara's works. In the film, the four pieces are used to illustrate the different stages of Clara's changing life.

James Kerwin
Kerwin Productions

"Out of the Shadows": MPR Radio Documentary

MARCH 6, 13, 20: Thursdays, 10:05 pm; "Out of the Shadows," In Three parts, the Minnesota Public Radio's award-winning documentary will be aired on Indiana University Bloomington's WFIU 103.7 FM radio station, featuring pianist Stephanie Wendt. Clara Schumann (1819-1896), virtuoso pianist, was one of the great stars of 19th-century musical Europe. Today she is remembered as Robert Schumann's wife, but in her own day, Clara was more often in the limelight; Robert was the budding, struggling artist.

Her career began at the age of five in the hands of her domineering father and continued through many hardships until she was 76 years old. Out of the incredible story of her life comes this series of three programs. Using the music she played and composed, and dramatic readings from her diaries and letters, the picture of a passionate, dedicated, talented and independent woman comes through.

The series begins with her life as a child prodigy, under the stern tutelage of her father, Friedrich Wieck, who later tried to keep Clara from her true love, Robert Schumann. Robert's and Clara's letters to each other burn with passion and torment. In Part Two, the court grants Clara and Robert the permission to marry and the love affair of the century blossomed. But family responsibilities, career concerns and health problems overtake them. Johannes Brahms enters the Schumanns' lives, just as Robert'S mental illness worsens. Part Three tells the sad tale of Robert's death in an asylum, and of Clara supporting her eight children with whirlwind concert tours. Johannes Brahms is a part of the story, too, remaining a steadfast friend through Clara's final days.

Each program features letters and writings of Clara, her friends, family, colleagues and critics. Musical performances are taken from recordings by some of the best performers on the scene today. For more information, visit MPR's web site.

Thanks to Composer Cary Boyce
Promotions and Marketing Director
WFIU Center for Broadcasting,
Public Radio from Indiana.

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