Robert Craft: Biography

Robert Craft holds a unique place in the world of classical music. In 1947, while still a student at The Juilliard School, he wrote to Igor Stravinsky asking to borrow the score and instrumental parts for his Symphonies of Wind Instruments in order to perform the piece the following spring at a concert in Town Hall. Stravinsky received the letter on the same day that he began to prepare a new version of the work, and, as he later said, felt something auspicious in the coincidence. However that may be, he answered that he would like to conduct the premiere of the work in its new form in Craft's concert. An astonished Craft replied that this would be a great honor but that he was unable to pay the composer's fee. Therewith, in an unprecedented gesture, Stravinsky agreed to waive his cachet. In April 1948 he shared a program with Craft, the first of many during the next twenty years.

Currently Robert Craft is recording for the Naxos Label and his recordings of the music of Igor Stravinsky, Arnold Schoenberg and Anton Webern are the focus of his work. These recordings are distributed world-wide by Naxos and are available at all CD retail stores as well as on the internet. In 2006 Robert Craft's recording of choral music by Arnold Schoenberg's was nominated for a Grammy Award for best Choral Recording of 1995.

Robert Craft has conducted most of the world's major orchestras in the United States; (New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, San Francisco, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Minneapolis), Canada, Europe, Russia, Japan, Korea, Mexico South America, Australia, Newand New Zealand. He is the first American to have conducted Alban Berg's Wozzeck and Lulu. Craft led the world premieres of Stravinsky's later masterpieces; Von Himmel hoch, Agon, The Flood, Abraham and Isaac, Variations (Chicago Symphony), Introitus, and Requiem Canticles.

Within his career to date Mr. Craft is a two-time recipient of the prestigious Grand Prix du Disque, as well as the Edison Prize for his recordings of music by Varese and Stravinsky. He remains an active recording artist, conductor and writer.