Celebrating Leo Kraft’s 100th: New Oral History and Spotify Playlist

July 21, 2022

Though not a household name, composer Leo Kraft (1922–2014) was a significant force on New York’s new music scene from the mid-20th century to well into the 21st. His compositions were performed and recorded by such premier ensembles as the Da Capo Chamber Ensemble, the Florileguim Chamber Choir, the New York Virtuoso Singers and appeared on recordings on the Centaur and CRI labels. Born in Brooklyn on July 24, 1922, Kraft taught composition and chaired the music department at Queen’s College—the very place he had first studied composition formally with Karol Rathaus. He went on to study with Roger Sessions and, later, in Paris with Nadia Boulanger. Among the significant body of work he left behind are several pieces of Jewish music in formats ranging from solo and choral to chamber and orchestral works. Once asked about his overall approach to things Jewish, Kraft responded wryly: “I make it up as I go along.”

Explore the life and legacy of Leo Kraft through our Spotify playlist and his 1999 interview with the Milken Archive.

In Their Own Words: Leo Kraft »

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