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.
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
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
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
Information on Beverly Serra-Brooks's Compact Disc of Clara Schumann:
Hummingbird Artist Management
2805 Mataro St.
Pasadena, CA 91107
Excerpted from correspondence with Jeanne Brossart at email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
"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 email@example.com.
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]
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.
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/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.
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
Promotions and Marketing Director
WFIU Center for Broadcasting,
Public Radio from Indiana.