Lili Kraus was born in 1905 in Budapest and took her first piano lessons at the age of six, and two years later entered the Budapest Academy of Music where her teachers included Bartók and Kodály. In 1922 she graduated with a first-class degree and travelled to Vienna to study with Steuermann and Schnabel at the conservatory, where she was apointed a full professor in 1925. After teaching there for six years, she embarked on a world concert tour and rapidly established herself during 1930s as a successful soloist. About this time a number of valuable recordings of Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven, both solo and chamber music, did much to spread her fame as an exceptional interpreter of the Classics. In the late 1930s Kraus formed a duo with violinist Szymon Goldberg. In 1942 at the start of another tour she was taken prisoner by the Japanese in Java, and was interned for three years. 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 returned to the international circuit in 1948 and then travelled widely, giving recitals and playing with leading orchestras. A pianist of considerable virtuosity and stamina, she played 25 Mozart piano concertos in a single series in New York in 1966-67; and the next season she gave there the complete Mozart sonatas. Lili Kraus died in 1986 in Asheville, North Carolina (USA).
(1903 - 1986)
Ink drawing of the internationally famous violin/piano duo Szymon Goldberg and Lili Kraus. Their records and CDs of, among other works, all of Mozart’s and Beethoven’s sonatas are still collectors’ items.