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“Kraus played with radiant vitality…First Class!”
May 28th, 2014 by Andrew Kraus

HenseltAndKrausCroppedFinalPictured here with the commemorative statue of composer, Adolph von Henselt in von Henselt’s home town of Schwabach, Germany,  Andrew Kraus presented a recital, Henselt in Context, on April 23, 2014, in the “Stadt Kasten”*** in Feuchtwangen, Germany. Kraus was a featured soloist in the 27th Annual International Feuchtwanger Piano Festival.  The program featured 17 pieces pairing works by Adolph von Henselt with those by better known composers including Schubert, Schumann, Chopin, and Liszt.

The concert was well received by the general public as well as by the local critic.  In an email,one concert goer wrote, “… at your concert, my heart was happy…”.

Henselt in Context – Des Abends from Andrew Kraus on Vimeo.
This is the opening pair of pieces from the  ”Henselt in Context” concert.

Here follows a translation of a review by Elke Walter in the Frankische Landeszeitung, Nr. 95, 25 published in Ansbach, Bavaria on April 25, 2014.

“Recalling a Piano Virtuoso: At the Feuchtwangen Piano Festival Andrew Kraus devotes himself to Adolph von Henselt”

FEUCHTWANGEN – During his lifetime he was called the “German Chopin” – Robert Schumann even named him “God at the Piano” – the German composer, music instructor, and piano virtuoso – Adolph von Henselt. Unfortunately, he has fallen into oblivion. The American pianist, Andrew Kraus, commemorated this virtuoso musician’s 200th birthday as part of the 27th Feuchtwangen Piano Festival.

Henselt, born in Schwabach in 1814, was considered one of the most famous pianists of his time. Until his death in 1889, he was for many decades the imperial court pianist of the Empress, inspector of musical studies in St. Petersburg, and co-founder of the Russian piano school.

Kraus designed the evening after an interesting scheme: a work from Henselt countered with a thematically appropriate composition of a contemporary colleague. In the beginning, he chose Henselt’s “Wiegenlied, op.45.” Kraus set the lullaby in conjunction with Robert Schumann’s (1810-1856) fantasy piece, “Des Abends op.12,1.” Beautiful sounding melodic arches between dream and fantasy awaken passion. With great sensibility and enormous ease, the American maneuvered through Henselt’s works: “Repos d’Amour,” “Poeme d’Amour,” and the “Toccatina, op.25” – impressively interpreted. Perfectly complementary compositions from Franz Liszt (1811-1886) and Frederic Chopin (1810-1849) fit superbly with the pieces. Only in comparison did the great virtuosity of each individual show: emotionally dramatic, rapturously fluid, or blazingly fast. Kraus proved to be like a sensitive “piano whisperer” and nimbly acrobatic with his fingers at the keyboard which lent soul to the sound of the pieces. Gently dreaming or passionately moved, full of compositional refinement… musical impressions of gondolas and the “Ave Maria” by Henselt and Liszt were equally played out with the same radiant vitality. The “Morceau de Salon, op.14,” an adaptation by Liszt’s instructor, the Viennese Carl Czerny (1791-1857), set an invigorating closing chord.

With his highly sensitive interpretive art, Kraus succeeded in presenting a touching tribute to the Schwabacher piano virtuoso, Adolph von Henselt – and simultaneously piano music of the romantic. First Class.

Here is a link to the original review.

Here is a link to the program.

Now accepting bookings for 2014-2015 season.
“Henselt in Context” is offered as a stand alone recital or, in conjunction with a half-day master class in academic settings.
Inquiries:  please use the contact form here.

***The “Stadt Kasten” is a half timbered structure located in the main church square of the City of Feuchtwangen. It was originally built in 1565 as a barn. Today, the building is used for concerts, plays and other cultural events year round

 

 

 

“Bravo Shouted the Audience”
Sep 3rd, 2012 by Andrew Kraus

The Riterssaal, Lemforde, Germany

From a review in the Diepholzer Kreisblatt on August 12, 2012 of a recital featuring eleven pianists, participants in Peter Feuchtwanger’s nineteenth international master class at the Musik Akademie Dummersee in Huede, Germany, some nice words about my playing…

Bravo Shouted the Audience

“Andrew Kraus of [sic] Rock Will [Rockville] had the longest journey, [and this was his] second time taking lessons from [Peter] Feuchtwanger. 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’…”

Peter Feuchtwanger’s Nineteenth
Master Class in Huede am DummerSee

Peter Feuchtwanger and Andrew Kraus

As mentioned in the Diepholzer Kreisblatt article, this was, indeed, the second time I was able to work with Peter Feuchtwanger in his Huede am Dummersee Master Class (his 19th there!), and as the first, it was an extraordinary experience.

 

 

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 full potential, technically and artistically.

It is important to note that Peter 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, two provided letters which are shown on his website. Here is a link to one by Martha Argerich, and another by Shura Cherkassky.

Peter Feuchtwanger is to be commended for the “atmosphere” in his workshops. In my experience, it is one in which mutual respect and collegiality are fostered. In a business which can be so very competitive, it was a pleasure, all too rare, to be in a situation with a group of fine pianists who spent a week nurturing and encouraging each other instead of tearing each other down.

Finally, a topic about which I will write more in the future, there was a period every day, after lunch, devoted to working Peter Feuchtwanger’s ““Pianoexercises for curing playing-related disorders in pianists as well as for learning a functionally natural behaviour in piano playing”. Currently these are only available as a book in German with a DVD in English and can be obtained from one of Peter Feucthwanger’s senior students: Stefan Blido.

Stefan Blido Coaching Yudi Zhang

Peter Feuchtwanger Demonstrates at the Piano

Achim Clemens, Peter Feuchtwanger, Andrea Pera and Deniz Turkmen

From left to right:  Work on the exercises with 1)Stefan Blido coaching Yudi Zhang,  2) Peter Feuchtwanger Coaching Deniz Turkmen with Achim Clemens looking on, 3) Peter Feuchtwanger.

I plan to blog more about the exercises in future postings. For now, suffice to say that working on them in the context of coaching with Peter Feuchtwanger was extraordinarily beneficial to me as a pianist.  I am able to play with more freedom and ease than ever previously.

Finally – a bit of an advertisement for myself as teacher and coach.  Having worked with the exercises for the past four years, and returning to work to refine what I’d previously learned with Peter Feuchtwanger, I feel comfortable offering them in the context of my own teaching.  If you are an adult pianist, from intermediate to advanced level, or the parent of a student, please feel free to use the contact form here with any inquiries.  I would welcome the opportunity to share what I have learned.

 

 

Generations United Concert
May 16th, 2012 by Andrew Kraus

With Darelynn Fung in Hindemith's Sonata for Bassoon © Eric Zhang 2012

On Mothers Day Sunday, May 13, 2012, I collaborated with seven singers, a bassoonist, two flutists and a horn player, in a themed concert called Generations United at Mishkan Torah Congregation in Greenbelt, MD. As Mark Lowenstein wrote in the, Greenbelt Patch on June 9, 2012, “Whether playing blues, German lieder, …harpsichord, or Gilbert and Sullivan, Maestro Kraus was a complete master”….

Quoting from the program notes, “[In this concert] We celebrate generational change and continuity at Mishkan Torah by presenting a … spectrum of younger and veteran artists…What more auspicious day than Mothers Day could we pick for such an occasion”?

More on this event including photos can be found here in Greenbelt 2012, “A photo blog about Greenbelt, Maryland in its 75th anniversary year”.

Note: the sound samples in the blog posting were made using the on camera microphone used to make the excellent photographs and should be considered to be “low-fidelity”. Stay tuned for links to the official recordings of the concert using broadcast quality equipment which will be of much higher (sound) quality.

New CD – “A Vintage Christmas” with Laura Mills
Dec 4th, 2011 by Andrew Kraus

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am pleased to announce the release of a new album – Laura  Mills, A Vintage Christmas, and my part in it.

Yours truly had a great time “laying down the piano parts” with her in my Rockville studio for 8 of the 11 tracks on the album.

I believe you’ll agree that Laura Mills has a terrific voice,  and she does a great job using it to share her heart with us and love for the songs on this  album .  From  ”Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”, to “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”, and “O Holy Night”, these songs are sure to  put you in that special Christmas mood.

You can listen to the demo tracks,  or better yet,  order yours now for just $11.99 to get instant access to all 11 songs by digital download.  If you want a physical CD, just use my contact form here, and I’ll get back to you with all the details on how we can get the physical CD to you.

House Concert – Gaithersburg, MD – June 4, 2011
Jun 9th, 2011 by Andrew Kraus

Photo, Susan Baker (C) 201106


“Song Meets Story”
May 29th, 2011 by Andrew Kraus

In April 2011, I worked with Soprano, Mary Gresock, to introduce over 900 Charlottesville area students to the joys of opera in an outreach program sponsored by Ash Lawn Opera.  Mary Gresock and I were interviewed by Adrienne Lawrence, a reporter with The Frederick News Post, and the interview was the lead story in the Lifestyle section of their website this week.

Here is a link to the interview story.

 

Ash Lawn Opera Outreach Introduces over 900 Charlottesville Area Students to the Joys of Opera
Apr 21st, 2011 by Andrew Kraus

1st Time in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall
Apr 13th, 2010 by Andrew Kraus

Steinway Concert Grand at the Kennedy Center
Saturday, April 10, 2010 was a great day for me. It marked the first time I got to play on the “main stage” in the Kennedy Center concert hall. I accompanied Danielle Talamantes and Stanley Webber, two rising young singing stars, in a program for the Vocal Arts Society called: America Sings: A Festival of American Music for the Voice. On the program were Aaron Copland’s, I Bought Me a Cat, Bess, you is my woman now from George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, and Lori Laitman’s, Dreaming.

Ticket for America Sings

Videos from Spring Serenade… w/Jennifer Paschal
Apr 1st, 2010 by Andrew Kraus

…just a quick announcement to let folks know about the availability of videos from Spring Serenade: Songs of Joy, Nature and Renewal , a recital with Jennifer Paschal, part of the Virginia Tull Arts Series at Wake Forest Baptist Church, Wake Forest, North Carolina.
The video can be found on my website at http://www.AndrewKraus.com/listen as well as on YouTube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytQkXXT1jBI.

Stay tuned for additional songs from Schubert, John Duke and others.

Join my fans and other interested parties by filling out the guaranteed not to spam you “Join the Mailing List” box at the top right hand corner of every page of this site.

Andrew Kraus Joins Laurien Laufman for “The Transcribed Cello”
Jan 8th, 2010 by Andrew Kraus

On January 24th at 7PM, Andrew Kraus joins Bethesda based cellist, Laurien Laufman, for The Transcribed Cello. Ms. Laufman, former Professor of Music at the University Illinois and protege of Janos Starker and Aldo Parisot, among others, describes the event as, “…an entire recital ‘borrowed’ from the repertoire of other instruments…”. Program details available here.

Want to attend?

Though a private affair, the performers have been told that we could invite “a few” guests of our own. Please contact Andrew Kraus using the form here if you’d like to join us for this event. If we still have some invitations, you’re in.

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