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Kraft, Walter

Kraft, Walter, German organist, pedagogue, and composer; b. Cologne, June 9, 1905; d. in a hotel fire in Antwerp, May 9, 1977. He studied piano with Rebbert and organ with Hannemann in Hamburg, and composition with Hindemith in Berlin. From 1924 to 1927 he was organist of the Markuskirche in Hamburg, and from 1927 to 1929 of the Lutherkirche in Altona-Bahrenfeld. From 1929 he was organist of the Marienkirche in Lübeck; the church was destroyed in 1942, but he resumed his post there after it was restored. He was also a prof, of organ at the Freiburg music college (from 1947); in addition, served as director of the Schleswig-Holstein Academy of Music (1950–55). He composed the oratorios Christus (1942-43), Die Bürger von Calais (1953-54), Lübecker Totentanz (1954), and Die Gemeinschaft der Heiligen (1956-57); Mass (1966); Laudatio 71 for Speaker, Chorus, 5 Wind Groups, Bells, Percussion, and Organ (1971); organ music. As an organist, he gained wide distinction as an interpreter of Baroque music and as an improviser.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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Kraft, Walter

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