About Andrew Kraus
“He is a strong pianist, with a solid virtuoso technique. In fact, I do not think there is anything he cannot do at a keyboard.”
--Joan Dornemann, Assistant Conductor, The Metropolitan Opera
“He is a brilliant player and astonishingly versatile.”
--Lily Kraus, former Artist In Residence, Texas Christian University
“Bravo Shouted the Audience” - Andrew Kraus of [sic] Rock Will [Rockville] had the longest journey… With four short pieces: one by American [pianist and composer] David Saperton whose last pupil he was himself, [Cygnes Noir, by] the Frenchman with Hungarian roots Isidore Philipp, [and] the two Russians Eduard Schütt and Sergei Mikhailovich Lyapunov, Kraus delighted the audience with his virtuoso interpretation in Lemförde and inspired them to 'bravo' and 'encore'..."
--From a review in the Diepholzer Kreisblatt on August 12, 2012
“Mr. Kraus has been a superb pianist (of the Josef Hofmann/Leopold Godowsky lineage) and a sublime accompanist… he demonstrated an amazing understanding of, and gift for, the interpretation of each style of music, idiomatically and periodically.”
--Kenneth Moulton, President, Mantovani Production Associates
About"Music from The Golden Age of The Piano"
It was a life changing event.
After graduating from Boston University as an applied piano major, I was fortunate enough to be accepted as a private student of David Saperton in what proved to be the last year of his life. As a Boston University Scholar and recipient of the Aaron Richmond Prize in Piano, I was getting a lot of external validation of my work as a pianist, but, hugely frustrating, I knew, at a deep level, that there was more music in me than what I could express. Worse yet, I did not know how to improve. I knew I needed a mentor, someone who could show me the way to a higher level of pianism. but where to learn, who could teach me, those were questions for which I had no answer until Mary Davenport, a marvelous contralto in whose voice studio I accompanied, recommended I study with her sister’s former piano teacher, David Saperton, in New York City. I still remember Mary Davenport saying, "You see, Dear Boy, it's time for you to learn to play the piano better ".
Meeting David Saperton, and working with him, was extraordinary: from the initial intake audition (it was… humbling), to the detailed lessons on technique he gave me, and perhaps more important than anything else, the opportunity to hear him play the piano. It was luminously beautiful playing, and even though Saperton was near death, walked slowly with a cane, wrote cursive in a crabbed and shaky hand, his piano playing was that of a younger, healthier man, infused with vitality, heart and spirit.
Listening to Saperton play was, for me, an initiation into a way of making music, and in some cases a type of music that I had never experienced previously. In a flash, I was transported back to the salons of the late 1920's and early 1930's in NYC (and Paris and other similar cities) where “The Greats” would gather, smoke their cigars, play the piano for each other, talk about the music. Very heady stuff for a young man such as I was at the time. Truth be told, it's STILL very heady stuff for me.
And so, I was “hooked”. Someday I hoped to play this music, myself, to perform it for others. I have since taken it as my “mission” to do so.
It pleases me greatly, at last, to offer this first collection of “Music from The Golden Age of The Piano”. The pieces are rarely programmed, they are usually short (3 to 5 minutes), and offer some technical or musical challenge, or both. They take full advantage of the sonority of what we know as the modern piano. Most important: to meet the "cut", they must be beautiful and "touch the heart". Wherever I have played them for people, the reactions have been extremely positive. After a performance in August 2012 in Lemforde, Germany, one of the concert sponsors, a frequent attendee at piano recitals, said to me: “Where did you find these pieces? They were lovely, and I have never heard any of them…”
I would be remiss in not mentioning the extremely salutary influence of Peter Feuchtwanger, pianist, composer and pedagogue, with whom I worked in August 2009, and again in August 2012, on my playing in general, and on pieces for this collection. Largely self-taught, a genius and prodigy, Feuchtwanger's abilities go beyond those required to play the piano in an extraordinary way himself. He also has the gift of being able to help other pianists reach their potential, technically and artistically. Feuchtwanger has worked his magic not just on lesser known pianists but, also, on many better known ones. Of those famous pianists willing to make their work with him known, Martha Argerich, and Shura Cherkassky provided letters which are shown on his eponymously named website.
I hope you enjoy listening to these pieces as much as I have enjoyed playing them for you.