Schumann was born at Königstein, Germany, October 25, 1866. He was the son of Clemens Schumann (1839–1918) and the older brother of Camillo Schumann. He first studied the violin and organ with his father and grandfather, and even ended up getting taught by Friedrich Baumfelder, a well-known German composer, pianist, and conductor of his day. He later was a student at the Leipzig Conservatory for seven years, conducted an orchestra at Danzig from 1891–1896 and from 1896-1899 the orchestra at Bremen. In 1900 he became professor and director at the Singakademie in Berlin. In 1907 he became a member of the Prussian Academy of Arts, in 1918 vice-president and finally in 1934 President.
His works include Amor und Psyche op. 3 (1888) for soloists, choir and orchestra, a Symphony in f-minor op. 42 (1905) and the oratorio Ruth op. 50 (1908).