Lili Kraus

Biography

Born: April 3, 1905; Budapest, Hungary   Died: November 6, 1986; Asheville, NC  
Born in Budapest, in 1905, to an impoverished Hungarian mother and Czech father, Kraus entered the Academy of Music there as a piano major at age 8. Taught by Kodály and Bartók, among others, she graduated in 1922, with top honors. Kraus then attended the Vienna Konservatorium to study with Eduard Steuermann and Schnabel, from whom she took master classes. Starting in 1925, became a teacher there herself for six years. In the 1930s, she toured Read more both as soloist and as the recital partner of violinist Szymon Goldberg, with whom she recorded Beethoven and Mozart sonatas for British Parlophone in 1935 and 1937, along with solo reperoire. Her other specialties included Chopin, Haydn, Schubert, and Bartók.

When Kraus married philosopher Otto Mandl, they converted to Catholicism, living in Italy until the cloud of Nazism compelled them to move to the Dutch East Indies. While touring in 1942, Kraus, her husband, and their two children were arrested in Indonesia, and sent to separate prisoner-of-war camps on Java for nearly three years. They survived principally because the Japanese knew her name and her recordings. A Japanese conductor reputedly provided food as well as musical scores until their rescue by British forces. For two years Kraus played in Australia and New Zealand (where she became a British subject), and in South Africa too, before returning to England in 1948, where she resumed her career before debuting in the U.S., in 1949. She also resumed recording, albeit with second-class Viennese orchestras and conductors for Vox, mainly, in concertos by Mozart and Beethoven, but later on for Vanguard in the U.S. During the 1966-1967 season, she performed 25 of Mozart's 27 concertos in New York City on a single series, and the next season played his complete keyboard sonatas.

A nonstop talker who designed her own concert gowns, Kraus was never ranked as a virtuoso even before World War II, but she was a notably distinguished interpreter. Those who heard her before and after the war confided sadly that something had forever changed. She never stopped playing, however -- always forthrightly, even brusquely, in some repertoire. Texas Christian University at Fort Worth appointed her artist-in-residence in 1968, and she became a regular juror at the Cliburn International Competitions. She tried to instill in her pupils the same enthusiasm that sustained her as a public concert artist until 1982, an intensity that unnerved some of the shy and introverted students. At various U.S. piano competitions, regular observers labeled her a surrogate stage-mother, as she endlessly exhorted and lobbied. But she taught and cherished her pupils, emulating the teachers from her childhood.

In 1978, the Austrian government awarded Kraus the Cross of Honor for Science and Art. Remaining a British subject, she taught in Texas until her retirement in 1983. She maintained a home in Asheville, North Carolina, where she died in 1986. Read less
Browse 1-17 of 17 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    The Only Romantic Piano Album You Will Ever Need
    Label: Vanguard   Catalog: 6703 Release Date: 12/31/2025   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Lili Kraus,  Leon Fleisher,  Philippe Entremont,  Russell Sherman  ... 
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  • 2.
    Szymon Goldberg Vol 2 - Commercial Recordings 1932-1951
    Label: Music & Arts   Catalog: 1225 Release Date: 10/30/2012   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Szymon Goldberg,  Gerald Moore,  Anthony Pini,  Lili Kraus  ... 
    Conductor:  Walter Susskind,  Alois Melichar,  Paul Kletzki
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra members  ... 
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  • 3.
    Lili Kraus Plays Mozart
    Label: Dutton Laboratories/Vocalion   Catalog: 9811 Release Date: 12/13/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Lili Kraus,  Szymon Goldberg,  Eileen Joyce
    Conductor:  Walter Goehr,  Walter Susskind,  Clarence Raybould
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Orchestra
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  • 4.
    Great Pianists Vol 1 / Backhaus, Rubinstein, Kraus
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 2349 Release Date: 04/13/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Sergei Rachmaninov
    Performer:  Lili Kraus,  Wilhelm Backhaus,  Artur Rubinstein
    Conductor:  Pierre Monteux,  Guido Cantelli,  Victor De Sabata
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  New York Philharmonic
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  • 5.
    Mozart Legendary Interpretations - Lili Kraus - The Piano Sonatas
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 47222 Release Date: 01/28/2010   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Lili Kraus
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  • 6.
    Sunday Evenings With Pierre Monteux - California 1941-52
    Label: Music & Arts Programs Of America   Catalog: 1192 Release Date: 03/13/2007   Number of Discs: 13
    Composer:  Sir William Walton,  Olivier Messiaen,  Carl Maria von Weber,  Gioachino Rossini  ... 
    Performer:  Dorothy Warenskjold,  William Kapell,  Boris Blinder,  Naum Blinder  ... 
    Conductor:  Pierre Monteux
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Standard Symphony Orchestra
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    CD: $118.99
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  • 7.
    Mozart: The Piano Sonatas / Lili Kraus
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88808 Release Date: 11/28/2006   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Lili Kraus
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  • 8.
    Mozart: Solo Keyboard Works / Lili Kraus
    Label: Music & Arts Programs Of America   Catalog: 1001 Release Date: 07/18/2006   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Lili Kraus
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    CD: $58.99
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  • 9.
    Lili Kraus In Recital
    Label: Video Artists International   Catalog: 4359 Release Date: 01/10/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  Lili Kraus
    DVD: $28.99
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  • 10.
    Beethoven: Violin Sonatas / Szymon Goldberg, Lili Kraus
    Label: Opus Kura   Catalog: 2055 Release Date: 12/27/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Szymon Goldberg,  Lili Kraus
    On sale! $18.98
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  • 11.
    Classical Cuisine - Sunday Brunch
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 74774 Release Date: 04/05/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Johann Pachelbel,  Thomas Yorke,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Anner Bylsma,  Jos van Immerseel,  Vera Beths,  Christopher O'Riley  ... 
    Conductor:  Raymond Leppard,  Richard Kapp
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  Philharmonia Virtuosi
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  • 12.
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 4228 Release Date: 10/26/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Lili Kraus
    Conductor:  Pierre Monteux
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $13.99
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  • 13.
    Mozart, Beethoven / Szymon Goldberg, Emanuel Feuerman
    Label: Opus Kura   Catalog: 2044 Release Date: 12/30/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Szymon Goldberg,  Lili Kraus,  Paul Hindemith,  Emanuel Feuermann  ... 
    On sale! $18.98
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  • 14.
    Lili Kraus Plays Mozart
    Label: Vox Box Legends   Catalog: 5510 Release Date: 02/28/2000   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Lili Kraus
    Conductor:  Enrique Jorda,  Rudolf Moralt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Pro Musica Orchestra,  Vienna Symphony Orchestra
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  • 15.
    Build Your Baby's Brain - Through The Power Of Music
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 60815 Release Date: 08/25/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gottfried H. Stölzel,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  George Frideric Handel,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Robert Casadesus,  Mieczyslaw Horszowski,  Julius Levine,  Jeanne Lamon  ... 
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy,  John Snashal,  George Szell,  Jeanne Lamon  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra,  London Symphonic Band members,  Cleveland Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $8.99
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  • 16.
    Classical Piano - Greatest Hits
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 68456 Release Date: 08/22/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Philippe Entremont,  Emanuel Ax,  Lili Kraus,  Andreas Haefliger  ... 
    CD: $8.99
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  • 17.
    The
    Label: Sony Classical Masterworks   Catalog: 46578 Release Date: 01/18/1991   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Colette Alliot-Lugaz,  Gregory Reinhart,  Odile Bailleux,  Dominique Visse  ... 
    Conductor:  Jean-Claude Malgoire,  Lorin Maazel,  Stephen Simon,  George Szell  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Grande Ecurie et la Chambre du Roy,  Nord-Pas-de-Calais Chorus,  Paris Opera Chorus  ... 
    CD: $8.99
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