Steamboat Springs The best way to call up Clara Schumann on the Internet is to type "wife of Robert Schumann" into the search engine.
Like many women composers of her era, Clara Schumann lived in the shadows of her male counterparts, and even today her music rarely is performed outside of programs dedicated solely to women composers.
But a movement is afoot to give women their due, Dr. Cary Lewis said.
At noon Tuesday, Lewis will give a lecture at Centennial Hall titled, "The Feminine Touch," which will highlight the female composers whose work will be performed in Wednesday's "Tribute to Women Composers" concert in the Strings in the Mountains Music Tent.
Lewis will discuss the work of Clara Schumann and Louis Pauline Marie Heritte-Viardot.
Lewis, who spent his career as a professor of music at Georgia State University, heard Heritte-Viardot's music for the first time three years ago.
Heritte-Viardot (1841-1918) was born into a family of singers. She had a Spanish heritage but lived in cities around the world, from Russia to South Africa.
Lewis was introduced to Heritte-Viardot's work through a colleague who specializes in women composers. While reading through her work for a previous concert, the piece "Spanish Quartet" caught his attention.
"It's close to a masterpiece," he said. "I don't know why I'd never heard of her. It makes me wonder how many other women composers there are out there."
When Lewis started researching Heritte-Viardot's life, he was surprised how little information was available.
Schumann's status as the wife of a famous man kept her in the history books, at least.
When Clara began her relationship with Schumann, she was better known than him, Lewis said.
"She was a child prodigy," he said. Her parents tried to keep her away from Robert, but "love won out. He wrote secret notes to her in his music. There is something that scholars identified as a 'Clara theme.' The couple fought that way, as well, adding cryptic messages in their compositions."
After Robert's death, Clara became famous again. This time as his widow.
"When I lived in Atlanta, we referred to the professional widow of Martin Luther King Jr.
"Clara was the professional widow of Robert Schumann."
She is remembered as the widow of a musician, but as a musician herself, Clara wrote several piano pieces, one of which will be performed at the Strings Music Tent on Wednesday.
"This is time to give (women composers) their chance," Lewis said. "Heritte-Viardot was quite aware of her inferior station in life as a woman. She was rejected as a winner from the Grand Prix of the City of Paris because it would be a disgrace to give it to a woman."