The history of honouring Robert Schumann in the city of his birth began when the composer was still alive. The first Schumann Festival was held in Zwickau in 1847, based on an initiative of the Zwickau grammar school teacher Emanuel Klitzsch. Schumann himself conducted his Second Symphony and composed a choral piece for a large choir especially for the occasion. Four years after his death, on the anniversary of his birthday, the next Schumann Festival was held.
These beginnings are the foundation of the Schumann-Fest. In June every year friends of his music from near and far meet in the city of Robert Schumann's birth for a festival which is always a special occasion. In recent years, chamber and orchestral concerts, as well as evening vocal and piano recitals or matinees have been on the programme. On the artist's birthday, the traditional wreath laying takes place at the Schumann Memorial; often the Robert Schumann Prize is awarded during the Schumann-Fest. Here, the city of Zwickau and the Robert Schumann Society usually adopt a motto for the Music Days. »Schumann Rarities«, »Schumann in Churches«, »Schumann and Friends« or »Schumann, Bach & cetera« were the titles of recent years.
The Schumann-Fest even appear to be the fulfillment of a suggestion by the composer. Robert Schumann once wished for »large general festivals« as a »sign of love for the most sublime works of music«.