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Thalia Book Club Camp offers up-close interaction with renowned children's book authors and illustrators, book discussions, and book-related field trips around the city. This blog follows the camp's activities.

All posts from March, 2010

More Than Simply Schumann

Published on March 10, 2010

Robert Schumann, the quintessential Romantic, turns 200 this year. In collaboration with Concert Artists Guild, we’re celebrating the beauty and depth of his smaller works in Simply Schumann, a mini marathon that takes you inside the mind of this highly eccentric, idiosyncratic composer.

In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell comes to the conclusion that in order to reach success in your craft, you need 10,000 hours of practice. Gladwell claims that greatness requires enormous amounts of time, and perhaps Schumann knew about this rule before Gladwell. While he was a virtuoso pianist as well as composer, his performing career was curtailed when he permanently injured his hands by excessive and dangerous practicing.

His romance with the talented pianist and composer Clara Wieck, who became a champion of his compositions, and her lifelong relationship with the younger composer Johannes Brahms, whose emergence on the music scene was widely supported by Schumann, is the stuff of romance novels. Schumann’s own decline from syphilis led to an untimely death in an asylum, but his creative output was powerful nonetheless. The concert at Symphony Space features some of Schumann’s solo piano music, smaller works for chamber ensemble and songs, music of a highly personal nature, offered by some of today’s leading artists.

If you’d like to come and experience Simply Schumann, there are tickets still available. The evening starts at 5:00 pm with a discussion I’m moderating with a panel of pianists Tanya Bannister, Michael Boriskin, Soyeon Lee, and Rorianne Schrade. The music portion of the evening starts at 6:00 pm. You can find the full schedule on the Simply Schumann event page.


The average American moves 11.7 times in his or her lifetime, but I’m willing to bet that number is much higher for New Yorkers. On April 7, Selected Shorts presents Apartments and Neighbors, an evening of tales from Raymond Carver, Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky and others about the mysterious, curious or just plain insane people we live close to.

We are giving away a pair of tickets to the Apartments and Neighbors event to the person who writes in with the most humorous or horrific story about their experiences with their apartments, landlords or neighbors. The winner will be chosen on March 31, and the story will be posted to our blog on April 1.