Created to celebrate 200 years since Clara Wieck Schumann’s birth in 1819, I, Clara tells her extraordinary life story in her own words.
Clara was a truly exceptional woman - not just a devoted wife to the composer Robert Schumann, but a ground-breaking musician in her own right. Over a period of 60 years she gave over 1,500 concerts and determined the format of the kind of piano recital that is familiar to us today.
The narrative of I, Clara, drawn from letters and diaries, is interspersed with live performances of her works, and of music by Robert Schumann, Brahms, Liszt, Mendelssohn and Chopin.
This wonderful performance features the creator of I, Clara, pianist Lucy Parham, and acclaimed actress Dame Harriet Walter as the narrator.
As a child prodigy, Clara was prepared for stardom by her piano-teacher father, Friedrich Wieck. By the age of eight she was dazzling audiences throughout Europe. Having married Robert against her father’s wishes, she became the mother of eight children. When her husband declined tragically into mental illness and an attempt at suicide, she continued both to run the household and to make an international concert career to support the family.
Clara championed the works of her husband and of Chopin, Mendelssohn, Brahms and many others. She herself was also a talented composer, producing a piano concerto, numerous solo piano works, chamber music and songs.
Join for an awe-inspiring performance that tells Clara’s fascinating story in her own words.
Lucy Parham - piano
Dame Harriet Walter - narrator
Scripted by Lucy Parham
Image credit: Lucy Parham portrait © Sven Arnstein
This performance is supported by Lorna and David Foster and Tom McLeish
The Jane Moody in Memoriam Event
About the performers
Lucy Parham is acknowledged as one of Britain’s finest pianists. She applies her sensitivity and imagination not only to concertos and recitals, but also to portraits in words and music of composers such as Schumann, Chopin, Liszt, Debussy and Rachmaninoff. I, Clara is her sixth Composer Portrait.
Lucy has made numerous recordings including Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue (RPO/EMI Gold), concertos by Ravel, Fauré and Franck (RPO Records) and two solo Schumann CDs (ASV). Her CD of Clara and Robert Schumann Concertos (BBC CO/Sanctuary) won the BBC Music Magazine ‘Critics’ Choice of the Year’.
Lucy first came to public attention as the Piano Winner of the 1984 BBC Young Musician of the Year. Since her Royal Festival Hall concerto debut at the age of 16, she has played throughout the UK as concerto soloist with most of the major British orchestras and is a frequent recitalist at the Wigmore Hall. She has also toured the USA with the BBC Concert Orchestra on their 50th anniversary, as well as Mexico and Turkey with Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, with whom she has now given over 60 performances. Abroad, she has toured with the Russian State Symphony, Sofia Philharmonic, Bergen Philharmonic, Polish National Radio SO and L’Orchestre National de Lille.
Connect with Lucy online:
Dame Harriet Walter is an award-winning British actress. She trained at LAMDA and has worked extensively in theatre, film, television and radio. Her television credits include Sky Atlantic’s The End, Belgravia, Killing Eve, Succession, Ted Lasso and The Crown. Films include The Last Duel, Herself, Rocketman, The Sense of an Ending, Sense and Sensibility and Atonement. On stage she is best known for her Shakespearean work, as Lady Macbeth, Beatrice and Cleopatra but also as Brutus, Henry IV and Prospero in the all-female trilogy for the Donmar Theatre. She was awarded a CBE in 2000 and an honorary doctorate by Birmingham University, and she is an honorary associate of the Royal Shakespeare Company. She was made a Dame in 2011. Harriet is also a writer and has published four books: Brutus and Other Heroines, Other People’s Shoes: Thoughts on Acting (Nick Hern Books), Macbeth: Portrait of a Marriage (Faber) and Facing It: Reflections on Images of Older Women.