Noted Pianist Clara Schumann on German Banknote

17 May 2018  Thu

The Federal Republic of Germany 100 Deutsche Mark, featuring many musical instruments was first issued in 1989 by the Deutsche Bundesbank. More security features like a hologram foil, a matted printing of the denomination etc. were added to the note and rereleased in 1996. A Lyre which looks similar to a harp is featured on the obverse while the reverse depicts tuning forks and a grand piano. A portrait of the great 19th-century German composer and pianist Clara Schumann is also depicted.

Clara Schumann was born in 1819 in Leipzig, Germany. She chose to become a musician at very tender age and her career spanned over 60 years to become one of the most respected pianists of her times. She learnt playing the piano, violin, and theory under her father’s guidance and gave her first solo piano performance at a concert when she was just 11 years old. She started composing her own arrangements and became famous in Europe by the mid-1830s. She received the highest award given to a musician in Austria at the age of 18 and was named “Royal and Imperial Chamber Virtuoso”. Her achievements were even more outstanding as very few women performed openly in those days.

Clara married her father’s piano student Robert Schumann in 1840. Robert could not continue playing the piano because of a hand injury but focused more on composing. Clara supported her husband by playing his compositions in concerts. She played them even after Robert’s death. She was so attached to her life partner that she didn’t even need to read from sheet music. She also played pieces by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven etc. and modified arrangements to make them more enjoyable. Clara died at the age of 76 in 1895 due to a stroke.

The Bundesbank started issuing a new series of banknotes dedicated to German artists and scientists. Buildings depicted in the background of the obverse design were related to the place of birth, death or place of work of that particular artist/scientist. Their craft is highlighted on the reverse. The banknote dedicated to Clara features buildings of Liepzig on the obverse and the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt, Germany on the reverse where Clara taught piano from 1878 to 1892.
The Deutsche Mark was the official currency of The Federal Republic of Germany from 1948 to 1990. It became obsolete after the Euro became the official currency in 2002.
Image Courtesy: PMG

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