Lecture: The Life and Work of Clara Schumann

with musicologist Frances Falling

(free pre-concert lecture)

SFEMS welcomes musicologist Frances Falling for a free pre-concert lecture about the life and work of Clara Schumann. This free lecture will be held on Monday, June 6, at 6 p.m. in Hertz Hall, Berkeley. The lecture will be followed by a performance of Dark Dreams—Lieder of Franz Schubert, Clara Schumann, & Robert Schumann, featuring soprano Lucy Fitz Gibbon and fortepianist Nicholas Mathew.

The 19th century legend, Clara Schumann, earned many titles: child prodigy, piano virtuoso, high priestess, composer, champion and editor of her husband’s music, dedicated mother of seven, to name but a few. Though she excelled in a world dominated by men, Clara was not the only woman contributing to the music of her time. In fact, she dedicated her Op. 13 to a sister composer, Queen Caroline Amalie of Denmark. This pre-concert lecture discusses the expected roles of women during Clara’s lifetime and how she and others explored and expanded those roles.

About Frances Falling:

Born in Germany, American mezzo-soprano and musicologist Frances Falling started her vocal career at six years of age singing with the children’s opera choir at the Hessen State Theater in Wiesbaden. She completed her double Bachelor’s degrees (BME, Choral Music Education & BS, Environmental Studies) at Florida State University with voice as her main focus. For her Honors Thesis Project, she produced a documentary film “In the footsteps of Clara Schumann”. Afterward, she received a Fulbright fellowship to conduct a research project on children’s choirs in Germany, which she completed as her Master’s Thesis at the University of Leipzig. Since finishing her Master’s of Arts in musicology in 2017, Frances Falling worked as a research assistant and singer at the Schumann-Haus in Leipzig. There she created special Lieder concert tours, in which she presented the artist couple, Clara and Robert Schumann, through songs and narration. Frances also sang in the Gewandhaus Choir in Leipzig for three seasons before moving to Berkeley, California, in 2021. Here she is a freelance singer, musicologist, translator, and mother.