Kraus, Lili

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KRAUS, LILI (1903–1986), pianist born in Budapest. She was admitted as a talented child to the Royal Academy of Music and studied with Kodály and Bartók. After graduating in 1922, she studied at the Vienna conservatory with Steuermann and was appointed a full professor there (1925–31). She also studied with *Schnabel in Berlin. During the 1930s she lived in Italy and embarked on a world concert tour and rapidly established herself as a successful soloist. From 1935 to 1940 she toured with the violinist Szymon *Goldberg, with whom she made the first recording of Mozart's piano and violin sonatas (1939). At the start of another tour (1942) she was taken prisoner by the Japanese in Java, and for three years was interned with her family. After the war she toured Australia and New Zealand, and for her "unrelenting efforts in the aid of countries in need" was granted New Zealand citizenship. She resumed her international career touring widely, giving recitals and playing with leading orchestras. Kraus played all the Mozart piano concertos in a single series (New York, 1966–7); and the next season the complete Mozart sonatas. In 1967 she made her home in America and served as artist-in-residence at Texas Christian University (1968–83). Kraus was one of the most extraordinary musicians of the 20th century. Nobility, grace, refinement, and virtuosity distinguished her playing. A sophisticated champion of the Viennese classics, she was esteemed for her interpretations of Mozart and Schubert and for her valuable recordings of Haydn and Beethoven. She published "Master Class" in Clavier, 19:7 (1980), 26–29.


Grove Music Online; Baker's Biographical Dictionary (1997); J.W. Newcomer, Lili Kraus and the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition (1997); S. Roberson, Lili Kraus: Hungarian Pianist, Texas Teacher, and Personality Extraordinaire (2000).

[Naama Ramot (2nd ed.)]