|Robert Schumann (8 June 1810 – 29 July 1856) was a German composer, aesthete and influential music critic. He is one of the most famous and important Romantic composers of the 19th century.|
Schumann had hoped to pursue a career as a virtuoso pianist, having been assured by his teacher, Friedrich Wieck, that he could become the finest pianist in Europe after only a few years of study with him. However, when a self-inflicted hand injury prevented those hopes from being realized, he decided to focus his musical energies on composition. Schumann's published compositions were written exclusively for the piano until 1840; he later composed works for piano and orchestra, many lieder (songs for voice and piano), four symphonies, an opera, and other orchestral, choral and chamber works. His writings about music appeared mostly in the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik ("The New Journal for Music"), a Leipzig-based publication that he jointly founded.
In 1840, after a long and acrimonious legal battle with his piano instructor (Wieck), Schumann married Wieck's daughter, pianist Clara Wieck, who also composed music and had a considerable concert career, including premieres of many of her husband's works.
Robert Schumann died in middle age; for the last two years of his life, after an attempted suicide, he was confined to a mental institution at his own request.