William Kraft (b. 1923, Chicago) has had a long and active career as composer, conductor, percussionist, and teacher. In the summer of 2002, he retired as chairman of the composition department and holder of the Corwin Chair at the University of California, Santa Barbara. From 1981-1985, Mr. Kraft was the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Composer-in-Residence. During his residency, he was founder and director of the orchestra’s performing arm for contemporary music, the Philharmonic New Music Group. Mr. Kraft had previously been a performing member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic for 26 years – eight years as percussionist, and the last 18 as Principal Timpanist. For three seasons, he was also assistant conductor of the Philharmonic, and, thereafter, made frequent appearances as guest conductor.
During his early years in Los Angeles, Mr. Kraft organized and directed the Los Angeles Percussion Ensemble, a group which played a vital part in premieres and recordings of works by such renowned composers as Ginastera, Harrison, Krenek, Stravinsky, Varèse, and many others. As percussion soloist, he performed the American premieres of Stockhausen’s Zyklus and Boulez’s Le Marteau sans Maître, in addition to recording Histoire du soldat under Stravinsky’s direction.
Mr. Kraft has received numerous commissions and awards, including two Kennedy Center Friedheim Awards; two Guggenheim Fellowships; two Ford Foundation commissions; fellowships from the Huntington Hartford Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts; the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Music Award; and numerous others. Mr. Kraft’s works have been performed by orchestras throughout the United States and around the world, including in Europe, Japan, Korea, China, Australia, Israel, and the former Soviet Union. In November 1990, Mr. Kraft was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Percussive Arts Society.
In 2005, Mr. Kraft’s Concerto No. 2 for Timpani: The Grand Encounter, commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, was premiered under Maestro Michael Tilson Thomas with David Herbert as soloist. A significantly revised version of the concerto was premiered in the spring of 2007 by the Hong Kong Philharmonic, conducted by Xian Zhang, with soloist James Boznos; later the same year, David Herbert gave the first U.S. performance at the annual convention of the Percussive Arts Society in Columbus (Ohio), with the Akron Symphony, under Guy Victor Bordo. Red Azalea, an opera commissioned by the Modern Music Theater Troupe (London), was premiered in 2002 at the University of California, Santa Barbara’s New Music Festival, followed by its European premiere in London.
Compact discs completely devoted to Mr. Kraft’s music can be found on the Harmonia Mundi, CRI, Cambria, Crystal, Albany, and Nonesuch labels. Other works have been released on GM, Crystal, London Decca, Townhall, EMI, and Neuma. A 3-CD set of the "Encounters" series has recently been released by Cambria Master Recordings.
Mr. Kraft received his bachelor’s degree cum laude (1951) and his master’s degree (1954) from Columbia University, where he was awarded two Anton Seidl Fellowships. His principal instructors were Jack Beeson, Seth Bingham, Henry Brant, Henry Cowell, Erich Hertzmann, Paul Henry Lang, Otto Luening and Vladimir Ussachevsky. He received his training in percussion from Morris Goldenberg and in timpani from Saul Goodman, and studied conducting with Rudolph Thomas and Fritz Zweig.
Concerto for Four Percussion Soloists and Symphonic Wind Ensemble (1995) -- 18' 30" 4Perc. Soli; 4(2A.Fl., 4Picc.)-4(E.H.)-4(4B.Cl.)-4(4Cbsn.); 4-4-4-1; Pno./Cel., Hp. Available from the Presser Rental Library Premiere Information: New England Conservatory Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Frank Battisti, conductor Additional Information: Original Version for Four Percussion Soloists and Orchestra (1964) also available.
Four Percussion and Piano reduction also available. • Recordings • Reviews
Full Score - Large (#416-41234)
Dialogues and Entertainments for Soprano and Winds (1980) -- 16' Sop. Solo; 4(4Picc.)-4(E.H.)-4(2B.Cl.)-4(Cbsn.)-4 Sax.(AATB); 8-4-4(B.Tbn.)-2; Timp., 6Perc., Cb. Available from the Presser Rental Library Commission Information: University of Michigan Wind Ensemble Premiere Information: University of Michigan Wind Ensemble, H. Robert Reynolds conducting; February 13, 1981 • Recordings
Full Score - Large (#416-41242)
The Wrath of Other Winds for symphonic wind ensemble (1986, rev. 1996) -- 21' 20" 4(4Picc., A.Fl.)-3(E.H.)-6(B.Cl.)-2; 4-6-4-2; 5Perc., Pno.(Cel.), Hp., Vcl., Cb. Available from the Presser Rental Library Commission Information: United States Air Force Band Premiere Information: United States Air Force Band, Major James M. Bankhead, conducting; Washington, D.C.; November 5, 1986 Additional Information: Originally titled Quintessence Revisited.
Vintage Renaissance and Beyond Version for Wind Symphony -- 20' 6(Fl.2 dbl. Alto Fl., Fl.3 dbl. Picc.) 3(dbl. E.H.) 8(E-Flat Cl., B.Cl.) 3(dbl. Cbsn.) - 4 3 3 1 2Euph.; Timp. 5Perc. Pno.(dbl. Cel.) Hp. Str. (18.104.22.168.1) Available from the Presser Rental Library
Brazen for Brass Instruments, Timpani and Organ (1996) -- 8' 10" 4Hn., 4Tpt., 4Tbn., Tu., Timp., Org. Available from the Presser Rental Library Commission Information: San Francisco Symphony Orchestra Premiere Information: San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor; September 11, 1996
Cadeau for Flute and Piano (1992) -- 8' 30" Published: #114-40984 Commission Information: Judith Rosen Premiere Information: Jill Felber, flute and Geoffrey Burleson, piano; New York, NY; February 14, 1992 • Recordings
Cadenze for Violin, Viola, Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Horn and Bassoon (Score only) Available From Composer
Episodes for Violin and Piano (1987) -- 12' 30" Published: #114-40974 Commission Information: Library of Congress Premiere Information: Mary Findley, violin, and Alan Mandel, piano; Washington, D.C.; March 6, 1987 • Recordings • Reviews
Evening Voluntaries for Horn (1980) -- 6' Published: #114-40973 Commission Information: John Cerminaro Premiere Information: Jeff von der Schmidt; Los Angeles, CA; May 16, 1983 • Recordings • Reviews
Gallery '83 for Six Instruments (1983) -- 13' Fl.(Picc.), Cl.(B.Cl.), Vln., Vcl., Pno.(Cel.), Perc. Published: #114-41005 Commission Information: Joint commission by the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, Contemporary Music Forum, and Speculum Musicae Premiere Information: San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, composer conducting; November 7, 1983 Additional Information: Variable instrumentation version of the third movement, Kandinsky Variations, is available separately.
Movements: • I. Waterloo Bridge (Monet) • II. Covergence (Pollock) • III. Kandinsky Variations (Kraft)
In Memoriam Igor Stravinsky for Violin and Piano (1972-74) -- 9' Published: #114-40990 Premiere Information: First movement premiere: Yoko Matsudo and Richard Grayson; Monday Evening Concerts, Los Angeles, CA; 1972. Second and third movements premiere: Harris and Carolyn Goldman; Palm Springs, CA; 1974.
Movements: • I. April is the Cruellest Month (T.S. Eliot) • II. Go songs for Ended is Our Brief Sweet Play (Francis Thompson) • III. Time and the Bell Have Buried the Day, The Black Cloud Carries the Sun Away (T.S. Eliot)
Incantation for Guitar (1990) -- 6' Published: #114-40960 Commission Information: Guitar Foundation of America Premiere Information: All finalists of Guitar Foundation of America Competition; Pasadena, CA; August 14, 1990
Kandinsky Variations for Variable Instrumentation (1981) -- ca. 5' Published: #114-40962 Premiere Information: Guido Lamell, violin, Zita Carno, piano, and William Kraft, percussion; Stella Polaris Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; April 15, 1983 Additional Information: Variable Instrumentation transcription of the third movement from Gallery '83. • Reviews
Me and Mr. Stenner for Guitar Available From UCLA Music Library Special Collections: Collection 74 — William Kraft
Melange for Six Instruments (1985) -- 14' Fl.(A.Fl.), Cl.(B.Cl.), Vln., Vcl., Pno.(Cel.), Perc. Published: #114-41006 Commission Information: Voices of Change Premiere Information: Voices of Change, composer conducting; Dallas, TX; March 10, 1986 • Recordings
Mobiles 2Fl. 2Picc. Ob. E.H. Bsn. 2Cl. 2B.Cl. Vln. Vcl. Available From Composer
Quartet for the Love of Time for Clarinet, Violin, Violoncello and Piano (1987) -- 10' 20" Published: #114-40983 Commission Information: Consortium of Chamber Music Northwest, Music Festival of Florida and the Toledo Symphony Chamber Music Series Premiere Information: Chamber Music Northwest; Portland, OR; July 6, 1987 • Recordings
Suite from "Cascando" for Flute, Clarinet, Violin, Cello and Piano (1988) -- 10' Published: #114-41082 Commission Information: Voices International for the Beckett Festival of Radio Plays Premiere Information: Recorded for radio, 1988. Not yet performed live.
Set of parts (#114-41082P) Full Score - Large (#114-41082S)
Theme and Waltz for Piano Additional Information: First William Kraft Composition. Available From Composer Available for reference only. Withdrawn from performance.
Translucences for Piano (1977) -- 11' 16" Published: #110-40731 Commission Information: Mona Golabek on a grant from the Edyth Bush Foundation, Inc. for the Bicentennial Series of the Washington Performing Arts Society Premiere Information: Mona Golabek Additional Information: Originally titled Ombra. • Recordings • Reviews
Vintage Renaissance and Beyond (2005) -- 17' Fl. Cl. Pno. Vln. Vla. Vcl. Available from the Presser Rental Library Commission Information: Commissioned by the Koussevitzky Foundation for the ensemble Premiere Information: 23rd May, 2005. Ear Play, conducted by Mary Chan, San Francisco, CA Additional Information: In memory of David Raksin • Recordings • Reviews
Weavings for String Quartet and Percussion Withdrawn See revised version, titled “Music for String Quartet and Percussion”.
Red Azalea an opera in two acts (rev. 2002-2008) -- 120' 1(d.Picc., d.A.Fl.) 1(d.E.H.) 1(d.B.Cl.) 1(d.Cbsn.) - 0 0 0 0; Perc. Pno.(d.Cel.) Str.(quintet or section; chamber orchestra-sized section preferred); Erhu Voices: 2 Soprano, 2 Mezzo-soprano, Alto, 3 Tenor, Silent role (some doublings possible) Not yet released (in prep) Commission Information: Commissioned by Modern Music Theatre Troup (London, England)
A Kennedy Portrait (Contextures III) for Narrator and Orchestra (1988) -- 18' 3(Picc.)-3(E.H.)-3(B.Cl.)-3; 4-3-3-1; Timp., 3Perc., Pno.(Cel.), Hp., Str. Available from the Presser Rental Library Commission Information: Boston Philharmonic Orchestra Premiere Information: Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, John Shea, narrator, Benjamin Zander, conductor; Boston, MA; November 19, 1998 • Recordings • Reviews
A Simple Introduction to the Orchestra (1958) -- 3' 50" 3(Picc.)-3(E.H.)-3(B.Cl.)-3(Cbsn.); 4-2-2-1; Timp., 3Perc., Pno., Hp., Str. Available from the Presser Rental Library Commission Information: Los Angeles Philharmonic Premiere Information: Los Angeles Philharmonic, H. Arthur Brown conducting; Los Angeles, CA; 1959
A Vintage Renaissance (1989) -- 12' 3(Picc.)-3(E.H.)-3(E-flat Cl.)-3(Cbsn.); 4-3-3(B.Tbn.)-1; Timp., 3 Perc., Pno.(Cel.), Hp., Str. Available from the Presser Rental Library Commission Information: Boston Pops Orchestra Premiere Information: Boston Pops Orchestra, John Williams conducting; June 10, 1989 • Recordings • Reviews
Concerto for English Horn and Orchestra (2002) -- 18'30" Solo English Horn; 4(A.Fl., Picc) 0 3(B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) - 4 3 3(Bari.) 1; Timp. Perc. Pno.(Cel.) Hp. Gtr. Str. Available from the Presser Rental Library Commission Information: Commissioned and premiered by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Carolyn Hove, English Horn, Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor, January 16, 2003
Concerto for Four Percussion Soloists And Orchestra (1964) -- 18' 30" 4Perc. Soli; 2(Picc.)-2-3(B.Cl.)-3(Cbsn.); 4-2-2-1; Pno.(Cel.), Hp. Available from the Presser Rental Library Premiere Information: Los Angeles Philharmonic, Zubin Mehta conducting; Los Angeles, CA; January 10, 1966 Additional Information: Four Percussion and Piano reduction also available.
Arrangement for Four Percussion Soloists and Symphonic Wind Ensemble also available. • Recordings • Reviews
Set of parts (#416-41271) Full Score - Large (#416-41271L)
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (1972-73) -- 21' Pno. solo; 3(Picc.)-3(E.H.)-3(B.Cl.)-3; 4-3-3-1; Timp., 3Perc., Hp., Str. Available from the Presser Rental Library Commission Information: Ford Foundation Premiere Information: Los Angeles Philharmonic, Mona Golabek, piano, Zubin Mehta conducting; Los Angeles, CA; November 21, 1973 • Recordings • Reviews
Full Score - Large (#416-41234L) Set of parts (#416-41281)
Concerto for Timpani and Orchestra (1983) -- 23' 10" Timp. Solo; 2(2Picc.)-2(E.H.)-2-2; 4-3-3-1; 3Perc., Pno.(Cel.), Hp., Str. Available from the Presser Rental Library Commission Information: Indiana Percussion Projects, Inc Premiere Information: Indianapolis Symphony, Thomas Akins, timpani, John Nelson conducting; Indianapolis, IN; March 9, 1984 Additional Information: Second Prize, 1984 Kennedy Center Friedheim Awards for Composition of Best New American Work in Orchestral Music
Arrangement for Timpani and Piano also available. • Recordings • Reviews
Set of parts (#416-41280) Full Score - Large (#416-41280L)
Concerto for Tuba with Three Chamber Groups and Orchestra revised version of 'Andirivieni' (1977, rev. 1979) -- 18' Tuba Solo; 3(Picc., A.Fl.)-3(E.H.)-3(B.Cl.)-3(Cbsn.); 4-3-3-0; Timp., 3Perc., Pno.(Cel.), Hp., Str. Available from the Presser Rental Library Commission Information: Zubin Mehta and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Premiere Information: (Andirivieni): Los Angeles Philharmonic, Roger Bobo, tuba, Zubin Mehta, conductor; Los Angeles, CA; January 26, 1978. Revised version not yet performed. Additional Information: Originally titled Andirivieni.
Concerto No. 2 for Timpani and Orchestra The Grand Encounter (2005, rev. 2006) -- 30' Solo Timpani; 3(d.Picc./d.AltoFl.) 3(d.E.H.) 3(d.B.Cl.) 3(d.Cbsn.) - 4 3 3 1; 4Perc. Pno.(d.Cel.) Hp. Str. Available from the Presser Rental Library Commission Information: Commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra Additional Information: Premiere: 9th-18th June, 2005 (7 performances). David Herbert, solo Timpani, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas, Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco, California.
Revised: 20th, 21st April, 2007. James Boznos, solo Timpani, Hong Kong Philharmonic, conducted by Xian Zhang, Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall.
US premiere (rev.): 31st October 2007. David Herbert, solo Timpani, University of Akron Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Guy Victor Bordo, Percussive Arts Society International Convention, Greater Columbus Convention Center, Columbus, Ohio.
Movements: • I. Tutti Marcato e Pesante • II. Lento • III. Epilogue
Contextures: Riots - Decade '60 (1967) -- 16' 25" Vln. & Drum Soli; 4 -4(E.H.)-4(E-flat Cl., B.Cl./A.Sax.)-4(Cbsn.); 4-4-4(B.Tbn.)-1; Timp., Perc., Pno.(Cel.), Hp., Str.; Jazz Ens. (S.Sax., Tpt., Dr.) Available from the Presser Rental Library Commission Information: Southern California Symphony-Hollywood Bowl Association Premiere Information: Los Angeles Philharmonic, Zubin Mehta conducting; Los Angeles, CA; April 4, 1968 • Recordings • Reviews
Double Play for Violin, Piano and Chamber Orchestra (1982) -- 17' Vln. & Pno. Soli; 1-2(E.H.)-1(B.Cl.)-2; 2-1-0-0; Perc., Str. Available from the Presser Rental Library Commission Information: St. Paul Chamber Orchestra Premiere Information: St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Pinchas Zukerman, violin, Marc Neikrug, piano, composer conducting; St. Paul, MN; January 7, 1983 • Reviews
Full Score - Study (#416-41177)
Fanfare Vintage '90-91 (1990) -- 4' 30" 3(Picc.)-3(E.H.)-2-3; 4-2-3-1; Timp., 3Perc., Hp., Str. Available from the Presser Rental Library Commission Information: Consortium of Pacific Symphony, Tucson Symphony, and Spokane Symphony Orchestras Premiere Information: Pacific Symphony Orchestra, Carl St. Clair conducting; October 9, 1990 • Reviews
Gossamer Glances (1993) -- 6' 3(Picc.)-3(E.H.)-3(E-flat Cl.)-3; 4-3-3(B.Tbn.)-1; Timp., 3Perc., Pno.(Cel.), Hp., Str. Available from the Presser Rental Library Commission Information: Association of California Symphony Orchestras Premiere Information: Pacific Symphony Orchestra, Carl St. Clair directing; August 14, 1993 • Reviews
In Memoriam Toru Takemitsu for String Orchestra with optional English Horn, Percussion and Harp (1999) -- 8' Str., opt.E.H., Perc., Hp. Available from the Presser Rental Library Premiere Information: Opus Chamber Orchestra, Leanna Sterios, conductor; Los Angeles, CA; April 2, 2000
Interplay for Orchestra (1984) -- 17' 3(2Picc.)-3(E.H.)-3(B.Cl.)-3(Cbsn.); 4-3-3(B.Tbn.)-1; Timp., 3Perc., Pno.(Cel.), Hp., Str.; Off-Stage: Crotales Available from the Presser Rental Library Commission Information: Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra on the Meet the Composer Residency program Premiere Information: Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, Simon Rattle, conductor; Los Angeles, CA; November 1, 1984 • Recordings • Reviews
Of Ceremonies, Pageants and Celebrations (1986, rev. 1987) -- 12' 3(Picc.)-3(E.H.)-3(E-flat Cl., B.Cl.)-2; 4-3-3-1; Timp., 3Perc., Pno.(Cel.), Hp., Str.; Off-Stage: 6Perc. Available from the Presser Rental Library Commission Information: Orange County Performing Arts Center Premiere Information: Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, Zubin Mehta conducting; Los Angeles, CA; September 19, 1986 • Recordings • Reviews
Symphony of Sorrows (1995) -- 15' 3(Picc., A.Fl.)-3(E.H.)-3(B.Cl.)-3(Cbsn.); 4-3-3(B.Tbn.)-1; Timp., 3Perc., Pno.(Cel.), Hp., Str. Available from the Presser Rental Library Premiere Information: Seattle Symphony Orchestra; Seattle, WA; November 12, 1995. • Recordings • Reviews
The Dream Tunnel for Narrator and Orchestra (1976) -- 15' Narrator; 2(Picc.)-2-2-2; 3(3 opt.)-2-2-0; 2Perc., Pno.(Cel.), Str. Available from the Presser Rental Library Commission Information: Olive Behrendt Premiere Information: Los Angeles Philharmonic, Calvin Simmons conducting; Los Angeles, CA; May 12, 1976 Additional Information: Text by Barbara Kraft.
Veils and Variations for Horn and Orchestra (1988) -- 27' 30" Hn. Solo; 3(Picc., A.Fl.)-3(E.H.)-3(B.Cl.)-3; 4-3-3(B.Tbn.)-1; Timp., 3Perc., Pno.(Cel.), Hp., Str. Available from the Presser Rental Library Commission Information: Jeff von der Schmidt Premiere Information: Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, Jeff von der Schmidt, horn, Kent Nagano conducting; January 27, 1989 Additional Information: First prize winner, 1990 Kennedy Center Friedheim Award for composition of best new American work in orchestral music. • Recordings • Reviews
A Trifle for Timothy for Percussion (1981) -- 1' 20" Published: #114-40993 Premiere Information: Royal Northern College of Music Percussion Ensemble; Manchester, England; July 1981
Concerto for Four Percussion Soloists and Orchestra (Piano reduction) Published: #114-41051 Additional Information: Original Version for Four Percussion Soloists and Orchestra (1964) also available.
Arrangement for Four Percussion Soloists and Symphonic Wind Ensemble also available.
Set of parts (#114-41051P) Full Score - Large (#114-41051S)
Concerto for Percussion and Chamber Ensemble (1993) -- 11' Fl./Picc., Cl./B.Cl., Pno., Vln., Vcl. Published: #114-41002 Commission Information: Boston Musica Viva Premiere Information: Boston Musica Viva, Richard Pittman conducting; Dean Anderson, soloist; September 17, 1993
Concerto for Timpani and Orchestra arrangement for Timpani and Piano (1985) -- 23' Published: #114-40971 Commission Information: Composer Charles Dowd and the Philip H. Knight Fund Premiere Information: James B. Greenwood, Jr., piano, Charles Dowd, timpani; Beall Concert Hall, University of Oregon School of Music; March 5, 1987 Additional Information: Reduced by Zita Carno from the Concerto for Timpani and Orchestra (also available).
Configurations Concerto for Four Percussion Soloists and Jazz Orchestra (1966) -- 15' 4Perc. Soli; 1(Picc.)-0-2(B.Cl., A&B Sax.)-0; 2-3-3-1; Pno., Amp. Gtr., Bass Gtr. Available from the Presser Rental Library Commission Information: Ludwig Drum Company Premiere Information: University of Southern California Wind Ensemble, composer conducting; November 13, 1966
Corrente II for Solo Percussion (1967) -- 2' Published: #114-40968
Da-Dit for Percussion Solo Available From CPP/Warner
Des Imagistes for Six Percussionists and Two Narrators (1974) -- 23' 41" Available from the Presser Rental Library Commission Information: Percussive Arts Society Premiere Information: Los Angeles Percussion Ensemble, composer conducting; Los Angeles, CA; March 12, 1974 • Recordings • Reviews
Encounters I: Soliloquy for Solo Percussion and Tape (1975) -- 13' 46" Published: #114-40964 Commission Information: Karen Ervin Pershing Premiere Information: Karen Ervin Pershing; Percussive Arts Society Convention, Chicago, IL; 1975 • Recordings • Reviews
Errata Sheet (#114-40964E)
Encounters III Duel for Percussion and Trumpet (1971) -- 15' 40" Published: #114-40994 Commission Information: Thomas Stevens Premiere Information: Malcolm McNab, trumpet, and Karen Ervin Pershing, percussion; 1972
Movements: • I. Strategy • II. Truce of God • III. Tactics
Encounters IX for Percussion and Alto Saxophone (1982) -- 10' Published: #114-40988 Commission Information: Baylor University Premiere Information: David Hastings and Larry Vanlandingham; Nuremburg, Germany; July 9, 1982 • Recordings
Encounters VI Concertino for Roto-Toms and Percussion Quartet (1976) -- 9' Published: #114-40986 Commission Information: Remo D. Belli Premiere Information: Temple University Percussion Ensemble; Atlantic City, NJ; March 10, 1976 • Recordings • Reviews
Encounters X Duologue for Marimba and Violin (1992) -- 10' Published: #114-40987 Commission Information: Serge Koussevitsky Music Foundation, Library of Congress Premiere Information: Marimolin (Nancy Zeltsman, marimba; Sharan Leventhal, violin); 1992 Percussive Arts Society International Convention, New Orleans, LA • Recordings • Reviews
Encounters XI: The Demise of Suriyodhaya for Percussion and English Horn (1998) -- 20' Commission Information: Carolyn Hove and Raynor Carroll Premiere Information: Carolyn Hove, English horn and Raynor Carroll, percussion, with the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group; Japan America Theater, Los Angeles, CA; March 1, 1999 Additional Information: Published: 114-41218 • Recordings • Reviews
Encounters XIII Concertino for Percussion and Woodwind Quintet -- 9' Commission Information: Kenneth McGrath Premiere Information: March 17, 2008, Los Angeles, CA, Southwest Chamber Music Society, Kenneth McGrath, percussion • Recordings • Reviews
Encounters XIV (Concerto a Tre) -- 9'30" Vln. Perc. Pno. Premiere Information: 8th August, 2005. Martha’s Vineyard Chamber Music Society; Martha’s Vineyard, MA • Recordings
Encounters XV for Percussion and Guitar (2008) -- 9' Premiere Information: October 6, 2008, Los Angeles, CA, Lynn Vartan, percussion, John Schneider, guitar, Southwest Chamber Music concert, Colburn School, Los Angeles, CA. Additional Information: Perc.: Vibraphone, Marimba, 8 graduated Drums, 7 tuned Asian Gongs, 2 Temple Bowls, 12 small tuned Asian Gongs, Tam-tams, Cowbells, Suspended Cymbal, Crotales • Recordings • Reviews
French Suite for Percussion (1962) -- 11' 50" Published: #114-40985 Premiere Information: Robert Winslow; Los Angeles, CA
Games: Collage I for Two Brass and Percussion Choirs (1969) -- 8' 10" 8 Hn., 6 Tpt., 6 Tbn., 2 Tu., 4 Perc. Available from the Presser Rental Library Commission Information: Encounters Committee Premiere Information: Los Angeles Horn Club with the Brass and Percussion Ensemble of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, composer conducting; Los Angeles, CA; November 21, 1969 • Recordings • Reviews
Images for Percussion Solo (1978) -- 18' 20" 4 Timp., 5 Cym., 1 Lg. Tam Tam Published: #114-40975 Commission Information: David Levine Premiere Information: David Levine; University of South California; November 19, 1978
Movements: • And the Bronze Bird Sang • And the First Sound Must Gather in Deep Bronze • Angels of the Winds • Homage
M's P an Encore Piece for Timpani (1978) -- 5' Published: #114-40963
Music for String Quartet and Percussion (1993) -- 18' Published: #114-41007 Commission Information: Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Foundation, Library of Congress Premiere Information: Southwest Chamber Music Society, Jeff von der Schmidt directing; November 13, 1993 Additional Information: Revision of "Weavings for String Quartet and Percussion" (Withdrawn).
Movements: • The Dark Wind of Melancholy (Reflections on Mein Bruder) • The Winds of Evanescence • The Winds of Memory • The Wrath of Other Winds
Nonet for Brass Quintet and Four Percussion (1958) -- 25' Published: #114-40970 Commission Information: Lawrence Morton for the Monday Evening Concerts Premiere Information: Los Angeles, CA; October 13, 1958
Quartet for Percussion (1988) -- 14' Published: #114-40969 Commission Information: California State University (Sacramento) School of Arts and Sciences Premiere Information: CSU Sacramento Percussion Ensemble, composer conducting; Sacramento, CA; November 7, 1988
Movements: • I. Mistral • II. Mists • III. Spectral Dance
Suite for Percussion (1958) -- 11' Published: #114-40965 Commission Information: Remo, Inc. Premiere Information: Los Angeles Percussion Ensemble, composer conducting; Los Angeles, CA; November 6, 1961 Additional Information: Originally titled Suite for Weatherkings. • Recordings
Triangles Concerto for Percussion and Ten Instruments (1965-68) -- 18' 1(Picc.)-1(E.H.)-1-1; 1-1-1-0; Str. (1-0-1-1-0) Available from the Presser Rental Library Premiere Information: Barry Silverman, percussion, and members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, composer conducting; Los Angeles, CA; December 8, 1969 • Recordings • Reviews
Contextures II: The Final Beast for Soprano and Tenor Soloists, Boys Choir, Old Music Group and Chamber Ensemble (1986) -- 31' Sop. & Ten. Soli; Boys'/Children's Choir; 1(Picc., A.Fl., opt. B.Fl.)-0-1(B.Cl.)-0; 1-0-0-0; 2Perc., Pno.(Cel.), Str. (1-0-1-1-0); Early Music Ensemble (6 players) Available from the Presser Rental Library Commission Information: Los Angeles Philharmonic Premiere Information: Los Angeles Philharmonic, composer conducting; Los Angeles, CA; April 2, 1984 Additional Information: Orchestral version also available. • Recordings
Contextures II: The Final Beast for Soprano and Tenor Soloists, Boys Choir, Old Music Group and Large Orchestra (1986) -- 31' Sop. & Ten. Soli; Boys'/Children's Choir; 4(2Picc., A.Fl.)-4(E.H.)-4(E-flat Cl., B.Cl.)-4(Cbsn.); 4-4-4(B.Tbn., opt Bar.)-1; Timp., 6Perc., Pno.(Cel.), Hp., Str. Available from the Presser Rental Library Commission Information: Meet the Composer Orchestra Residencies Program Premiere Information: Los Angeles Philharmonic, the New Albion Ensemble, and the Pasadena Boys' Choir, Mary Rawcliff, soprano, Jonathan Mack, tenor, Andre Previn conducting; Los Angeles, CA; April 2, 1987 Additional Information: Version for Chamber Ensemble also available. • Recordings • Reviews
Full Score - Large (#416-41178)
Settings from Pierrot Lunaire for Soprano and Chamber Ensemble (1987-91) -- 28' Sop. Solo; Fl.(Picc.), Cl.(B.Cl.), Vln.(Vla.), Vcl., Pno., Perc. Available from the Presser Rental Library Commission Information: Arnold Schoenberg Institute, Leonard Stein, director Premiere Information: Boston Musica Viva, Richard Pittman conducting, Christine Schadeberg, soprano; September 27, 1991 Additional Information: Orchestral version also available.
Instrumental version of Interludes also available. • Recordings • Reviews
Settings from Pierrot Lunaire for Soprano and Orchestra (1994) -- 28' Sop. Solo; 2(AltoFl., Picc.)-2(E.H.)-2(B.Cl.)-2; 4-3-3-1; Timp., 3Perc., Pno.(Cel.), Hp., Str. Available from the Presser Rental Library Commission Information: Schoenberg Institute Additional Information: Orchestral adaptation of Chamber Ensemble version (also available). • Reviews
Silent Boughs for Soprano and String Orchestra (1963) -- 17' 15" Available from the Presser Rental Library Commission Information: Marilyn Horne and Henry Lewis Premiere Information: Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Marilyn Horne, soprano, Henry Lewis conducting; Stockholm, Sweden; November 15, 1963 • Recordings • Reviews
The Sublime and the Beautiful for Tenor and Chamber Orchestra (1979) -- 15' 10" Fl.(Picc., A.Fl., B.Fl.), Cl.(B.Cl.), Pno.(Cel.), 2Vln., 2Vcl., 2Perc. Available from the Presser Rental Library Commission Information: COLLAGE Premiere Information: COLLAGE, composer conducting, Paul Sperry, tenor; January 6, 1980 • Recordings • Reviews
"He exploits all of his considerable knowledge to full effect in his percussion music, creating a sound world of multifaceted and extraordinarily varied depth and sonic substance.
…Kraft hypnotizes us into thinking that music should sound no other way…"
-Steven Ritter, Audiophile Audition (About 3-CD release of "Encounters" by Cambria Master Recordings)
"As epic body of work comparable to Berio’s Sequenzas"
-Richard Ginell, American Record Guide (About 3-CD release of "Encounters" by Cambria Master Recordings)
"These works serve for Kraft the way the string quartet did for Beethoven or Shostakovich, as a kind of autobiography in chamber music…a monument both to Kraft and the world of percussion"
-Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times (About 3-CD release of "Encounters" by Cambria Master Recordings)
"On the "Encounters" series…
…important set of compositions…
Kraft’s compositions explore the textures of sounds; he makes extensive use of a wide variety of tuned percussion and seems to delight in the unique sounds that result from simultaneous notes on two or more instruments…His works explore the variety of sounds from his selected pairings, not merely from the percussion alone."
-JerryZ, Sequenza 21
"He also has the true composer's gift for convincing the listener of the rightness of his ideas."
-Walter Arlen, Los Angeles Times
"Kraft's music exhibits a strong sense of color, not only in his expert handling of percussion textures but also in his treatment of other orchestral timbres. His long and close association with a major symphony orchestra has enabled Kraft to understand. In the manner of eighteenth-century Mannheim composers, the capabilities and potentialities of each musician."
"…a dynamic new work…the work features no fewer than 15 timpani [which] give the composer great potential for melodic invention, and Kraft capitalizes on that potential brilliantly."
-Georgia Rowe, The Mercury News (San Jose, CA)
"…bombast melted into quiet super-complexities of rhythm and mysterioso melody, with gauzy textures and squeezed-down chords…It was luminous, then subterranean; quiet as the inside of a clock, then brass-blast loud…It was a new musical language, and quite wonderful."
-Richard Scheinin, The Mercury News (San Jose, CA)
"The 10-minute composition represents a brave attempt to prove the compatibility of the cello with a battery of percussion. By integrating the instruments rather than devising a cello part with percussion accompaniment, Kraft succeeded in making a convincing case for his ideas."
"…one of the festival's most notable events. …Kraft's work is an absorbing reminder that modern percussion music calls on a rich variety of sounds and is fully 'music' in the conventional sense while preserving a distinct nature of its own. …The whole piece was fun to watch and good to listen to."
"…a work that managed to sound distinctively modern while remaining eloquent and accessible. In some sections, it is a brilliant display piece for the violin, beginning rather simply but growing rapidly in complexity."
"[Encounters VI] demonstrated how Kraft has cleared out the miscellany which plagues percussion music and has fit its devices into long, arched forms with an almost orchestral structure of its own. …the piece illustrated the grace and gentleness of Kraft's style to particularly good effect."
"…a mini-suite of brief highly varied jousts between [the violin and the marimba] that were sometimes angular, sometimes chasing each other, concluding with a fascinating repeating pattern that resembled a stuck groove at the end of a record fading away."
"The piece represents musical issues of the 60's, about pitches and rhythms as mathematical sets, but it is also the music of a virtuoso percussionist with a lively imagination, an irrepressible rhythmic energy and a theatrical bent."
-Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times
"Set for two percussionists, two pianists (one prepared), electric guitar and tuba, the work deserved [Kraft's] description as 'a kooky piece in a kooky idiom' for its mixture of things funky, laconic, poignant, overpowering and hilarious. Thanks to Kraft's control of texture and the performers' virtuosic delivery, these effects proved tasteful and irresistible: one could not decide whether to laugh or to cry."
-Bill Arthur, Long Beach Independent (CA)
"…a stirring compendium of new and exotic sounds… Having specialized in percussion instruments both as performer and as composer, Kraft has developed an ingenuity in devising unusual sounds, and a rare sensitivity to timbre, color, and nuance. He also has the true composer's gift for convincing the listener of the rightness of his ideas."
-Walter Arlen, Los Angeles Times
"The Double Trio is a hearty concoction… blended by [Kraft's] sense of humor and theater. The contrasts between a trio of piano, tuba and 'heavy' percussion with a trio of prepared piano, amplified guitar and 'kooky' percussion were always inventive and often hilarious."
"The synesthetic union of sound and color is convincing, and a performance of this work with film or slides would be most evocative. The pointillistic mergings of textures give the impression of light diffusing on water and in the sky. Pollock's daring pourings are transformed into abruptly juxtaposed tonal colors and bold dynamic contrasts…"
-Harrison Powley, American Music
"Scored for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano and percussion, Gallery '83's three sections seek to relate a commonality of inspiration found in Monet's Waterloo Bridge painting, Jackson Pollock's Convergence, and Kraft's own Kandinsky Variations. …This was not to say that the music was representational; it was more a matter of related sensibilities. …There was a great deal more than intellectual games to be derived from Gallery '83. It was fascinating, to be sure, but even without the benefit of prior of knowledge, one would be struck by the formality of its design and moments of beauty."
-Marilyn Tucker, San Francisco Chronicle
"[Kraft] has perhaps more insight into the coloristic potential of percussive instruments than any of his American contemporaries. …Waterloo Bridge elicits timbral delicacy and feathery textures, while Pollock's Convergence merits an immediate transformation to jagged, syncopated rhythms and repeated figures. The finale actually sets Kraft's doodles to music, the quietest and least extrovert of the set. A solid achievement, deserving of a rehearing."
"Strings and percussion crossed each other's paths and found common ground of sound production, between techniques of bowed and brushed percussion and percussive pizzicato from the strings. Most important, Kraft again exercised his uncanny ability to make accessible and immediate music out of an essentially atonal palette."
"…a pure coloristic mood piece with a somewhat Asian flavor, exploiting a huge variety of sounds ranging from delicate mallet work on cowbells to short, sharp shots."
-Richard Ginell, American Record Guide
"Encounters 12 [sic] is for harp and percussion. …relatively delicate in sound…the percussion part shows a certain amount of humorous frustration…Actually the two [instruments] get along about as well as our cats, enjoying an occasional pitched battle and then ending up in each other’s paws asleep on the couch."
"I can think of no other work in the past couple of decades that is as appealing both emotionally and intellectually and yet keeps its integrity on both counts. This is a strong anti-war statement. …While the thrust is extramusical, Kraft weaves the anguish and the warnings into every measure."
"Kraft's music is ceremonial and public, and therefore necessarily immediately accessible. Yet it is not without subtlety - there are references in it to We Shall Overcome, to the Mahler 9th, to an old colonial song. And the end is majestic, moving in a wonderful harmonic progression from solemn ceremony to celebration."
"William Kraft's Concerto is an integrating work, easy on the ears, lyrical, rhythmically lively, and completely original in its somewhat conservative style."
-Stephen Groark, University of Wisconsin Press Connection
"The program gave members of the percussion section a rare chance to step out front. The novelty occurred in William Kraft's Concerto for Four Percussion Soloists and Orchestra, a work that confirms the fact that these instruments need not be used just to raise the roof. Kraft… takes more interest here in searching out colorful washes of sound and subtle details. ...deftly organized and appealing."
-Donald Rosenberg, Cleveland Beacon Journal
"The expectation was for some lusty noise-making, so the surprise was its pervading melodic quality, right through from opening glockenspiel theme to saucy fughetto to vibrant variations announced by kettle drums. There is a lot of allusive brushwork, no attempted profundity and some of the casual breeziness of a popular piece. The orchestra has a strong coloring and thrusting role, and the clarity of design, exciting rhythmic complications, intense and dexterous solo roles made it a first-time listening pleasure. Its contrasts of fleecy innuendo and driving roulades were given a big reception, some of the audience in standing tribute."
-John Dwyer, Buffalo Evening News
"…a huge success… this was music which went far beyond mere technical expertness, stunning as were many of the effects obtained. For Kraft is a composer of wide-ranging imaginativeness; he never falls into the error of writing effects for their own sake. All the fascinating combinations of timbre, of strange combinations of percussive sounds, of intricate rhythms in opposition, fall logically into a coherent musical pattern that indicates creative talent of a high order. It is a bravura achievement, one of the most striking new compositions of recent date…"
"William Kraft is one of our finest composers for percussion… Kraft knows an important fact about percussion, (probably because he is a virtuoso player himself, having served for years in the LA Philharmonic): Less is more. One does not need everything but the kitchen sink to make an impressive noise with percussion; rather one needs a keen sense of what makes for the most story telling at any point. Kraft has this in abundance, and the piece moves from the shimmering textures of its first movement, to an intricate and delicate scherzo in its second, to a series of dramatic cadenzas in the third. …the piece overall makes a strong impression."
"This concerto of one movement, written in the contemporary idiom, enlarges the color and sound spectrum of the modern piano to its tonal limits along with extremes of dynamic variation. Several duets with piano and selected instruments of the orchestra gave welcome lyric relief to the sheer volume of both piano and orchestra. …It is a canvas of massive colors."
-Hyatt, Music Journal
"…observant and skillful handling of contrasts and climaxes; each section leads to its next before interest fades. …Kraft's use of percussion effects is bold and sometimes daringly witty."
-Gillian Widdicombe, The Financial Times (London)
"…strikingly different… remarkably deft… It serves, primarily, as a showpiece for the appreciative soloist. At the same time, however, it explores interesting new possibilities for orchestral percussion and coloristic expression. … a boldly propulsive musical fabric…"
"…The event of the evening was Kraft… He treated the orchestra as if it were an extension of the timpani… Kraft's work… may become the Tchaikovsky B-flat minor for timpani players all over the world. It is doubtful that any composer has ever handled such a task with greater skill."
-Charles Staff, The Indianapolis News
"Kraft has created a composition that proves that this percussion instrument has enough expressive potential to sustain interest on its own. …Audience response to the new music was enthusiastic; several persons stood in ovation as the composer was called on stage to take a bow."
-Betsy Light, Indianapolis Star
"Kraft's [Concerto for Timpani and Orchestra] turns out to be a three-movement crowd-pleaser of terrific style and imagination. Two vivacious fast movements surround a glissando-driven elegy for the composer's mother, and the whole thing boasts plenty of color and panache."
-Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle
"…dead-serious, highly imaginative and stunningly beautiful, creating a mysterious world of shadows, luminescence and restless energy. The idiom is high-road, uncompromising modernism, but it is made accessible and compelling by Kraft's mastery of rhythm, dramatic effect and orchestral color…"
-Mike Greenberg, San Antonio Express News
"Kraft is an expert composer and a deeply thoughtful musician who understands the timpani uncommonly well; not surprisingly, his Timpani Concerto is a masterpiece."
-James Wierzbicki, St. Louis Dispatch
"Few composers have dared to write a concerto for
timpani, which are usually used for dramatic rolls and punctuation points. This did not stop William Kraft, whose Concerto for Timpani and Orchestra is a rich mine of the instruments' potential. …The spritely first movement has an almost diabolical cast to it, with a menacingly grippingly finish. …Poem for Timpani, Two String Orchestra, Celeste and Percussion is the second, more atmospheric movement. Here, the soloist is called upon to support and give life to an otherworldly dreamscape of bell-like sonorities. …The final movement, Fleeting, is a compositional tour de force, rhythmic in a foot-tapping
way but never dumbed-down in a play to the masses."
-Gregory Shepherd, Honolulu Advertiser
"I have told all composers 'forget writing a timpani concerto, THE timpani concerto has been written.'"
-William Schuman, at the New York premiere
"It has taken the [Los Angeles Philharmonic] a surprisingly long time to catch up with a piece from 1983 that has already been played by more than 50 orchestras and was written by the L.A. Phil’s former percussionist and composer-in-residence.
But it was worth the wait, given the smoothly dazzling and terrifically nuanced performance by the Philharmonic’s principal timpanist, Joseph Pereira. Kraft’s score began quietly…
The slow middle movement…was exquisite. The last movement, jazzy and exhilarating."
-Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times
"The Concerto for Timpani and Orchestra by William Kraft made a strong impact with its forceful linear, harmonic, and rhythmic elements combined with orchestral opulence and highly idiomatic timpani writing. Subtle string and timpani glissandi created an unusually delicate and elegiac mood in the second movement; a variety of distinctive sections in the Rondo-Passacaglia finale and a concluding timpani cadenza led to the dramatic ending. …this concerto is perhaps the best of its genre in the literature."
"Contextures is extrovert music; it is also a music of almost horrible fear and concern, governed by black horizons. It disturbs. It should. …Contextures lingers long in the ear after the listening. Though the scoring is packed with
instrumental placements there is also repose and tension, direction, plan and climax. It is a powerful document."
-American Record Guide
"The music derives considerable force from its clashing of opposing energies and textures (hence the title), all the while challenging the ear with block dissonances and troubled shimmers of sound. Kraft exploits his orchestral palette with enormous craft (take my pun, please), sophistication and imagination."
-John Von Rhein, Chicago Tribune
"…superbly ordered and sensitively balanced, a dramatic expression of modern chaos. Kraft not only commands a vital vocabulary of musical ideas, but - more important - knows how to control that vocabulary with economy and precision. The grandiose percussive effects attract instant attention but the subtler details and textural inter-relationships are what sustain sympathy. …Contextures deserves another hearing. Soon."
"…a sensuous embroidery of percussive patterns… the pleasure of Kraft's music comes from following the sonic ball as is it passed from corner to corner. It comes from basking in a piquant melange of sound provided by an inspired assortment of gongs, rusty break drums, stainless steel bowls, drums, chimes, membranophones, coils and other lovely things like that."
"Best of show award should go to William Kraft's Double Play… The work is beautifully crafted and the instrumental writing idiomatic and highly coloristic."
-Ray Wilding-White, The Chicago Musicale
"Crisply crafted for violin, piano and chamber orchestra, the concise concerto is based on a quiet percussion cadenza that is delightfully developed and varied by the soloists. Alternating between lively rhythms and lyrical sections, the music is beautifully written for the instruments in a harmonic style recalling leading composers of the early 20th century."
"Intended as a celebratory fanfare, it is hardly a fanfare in the traditional sense. …Undeniably engaging, the work is animated by the tension between its extroverted, dissonant elements and it static consonant sections…"
"William Kraft's Games is a sheer-sound piece for brass and percussion. It was first performed outdoors and it has that kind of spaciousness, with groups of instruments coming from different angles. Some of the work is chance music, and all of it is a good deal of fun to listen to."
"William Kraft's Gossamer Glances, a seven-minute overture contrasting lacy instrumental business with occasional violent outbursts… can boast many charms, the main one being that it does not try to be charming but to make engrossing music with the full resources of a symphonic apparatus. This it succeeds in from top to bottom."
"Interplay is one of those works which demand attention, however complex the thought processes, however obscure the construction, and however unfamiliar the language. It is an amazingly well sustained burst of energy, brilliantly orchestrated…"
-Gerald Larner, Manchester Guardian
"It's complex music, but it grabs and holds the listener's attention. There's a sense of purpose, a restless forward-moving pulse."
"[Kraft] exploits to the full the scintillant power of percussion instruments, both tuned and untuned. This is especially true of Of Ceremonies, Pageants and Celebrations, a brilliant display work in which phalanxes of instruments exult together euphoniously if not melodically. …The sheer dynamism of orchestration and the piquancy of instrumental colour informs the music with considerable power."
"Kraft's seamlessly blended instrumental and vocal work… has been heard in these parts many times but is still rewarding. Kraft's house brand of neo-Impressionist writing is eloquently filtered through Serialist thinking, and he makes the hybrid language work - sing, even."
"[Silent Boughs] utilizes a serial technique but so adroitly that one is unaware of it, and both in the vocal line and in the string accompaniment it explores eloquently the intense emotional content of the poems."
"…a daring and risky and substantial work… The two sections of the piece are widely contrasting in method - the Dostoyevsky is largely written in Sprechstimme, while the Rimbaud evokes the world of Impressionist music, without ever directly drawing on that tradition. That is the great distinction of Kraft's music, its originality, the way it never sounds like anything but itself… One is also lost in admiration at the strength of a compositional logic, and the control over music's emotional statement, that makes it possible for Kraft to follow, convincingly, a semi-satiric statement with a wholly atmospheric one. …This is a dense and powerful and essential music."
-Richard Dyer, Boston Globe
"Kraft carefully weaves illusive and sensuous sounds to accompany a free Sprechstimme-like style of poetic recitation. Webernesque textures and cohesive motivic constructions unify the work."
"Symphony of Sorrows reveals the fertile imagination of the composer… Kraft's new work is a vivid example of shimmering sounds and strong forward motion. There is nothing difficult to the ear on first hearing, but the piece also suggests other layers that will reveal themselves only at subsequent performances, which I hope the symphony gets."
-R.M. Campbell, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Triangles Concerto for Percussion and Ten Instruments
"…there can be no question about the high quality of Kraft's compositions… Each of them is lively and enjoyable… There is a refreshing 'joie de vivre' in all of Kraft's music. Obviously he likes to have fun with noisemaking. Not that his writing is humorous, exactly. But it does live in an atmosphere of brightly-lit drama… Kraft treads a middle aesthetically, avoiding triteness and managing to be both serious and attractive without being overbearing."
"With Veils and Variations, [Kraft] won on all counts here by creating a work of musical substance and aesthetic merit that brought the audience to its feet."
-Paul Moor, Musical America
"Veils and Variations is not a concerto in the traditional sense. The horn part is prominent and impressively virtuosic, but the relationship between soloist and orchestra involves little in the way of tension or conflict. Instead, the full performing forces combine their efforts to render the musical material, with appealing results. Kraft's writing is accessible, without talking down to the listener, and his melodic and harmonic palette is rich and varied. The work's orchestration is both resourceful and elegant."
"…the important news came from composer William Kraft, who has added an appealing new work to the repertory. Kraft's piece, A Vintage Renaissance, presents two perky Renaissance tunes in attractive orchestral guise. …The piece interweaves these tunes with alert, unpretentious and imaginatively scored contemporary commentary… It's a good piece and a charming one. …there's no question that A Vintage Renaissance will be giving many a concert a cheerful send-off."
-Richard Dyer, Boston Globe
"The work is filled with brightwork, with percussive punctuation and edgy modern harmonies that still hark back to the original dance."
"Kraft is a composer who can produce a mean expressionist phantasmagoria. And everything he did here radiated instrumental knowingness and love of the idiom."
-Richard Buell, Boston Globe
"Kraft's compositional skill is considerable, and there is a lot of wonderfully written music here."
-T.J. Medrek, Jr., Bay Windows (MA)
"William Kraft has become one of the grand old men of American music. When I began reviewing, he was one of the most colorful writers of serial music, and… he still wields an effective pen in that idiom. He was originally a percussionist, and his sense of color is bright and ear-tickling. …the hand of Kraft has by no means lost its cunning."
"William Krafts ‘Encounters XV’ is clever and creative [headline]
“Encounters IV” is subtitled “Duel for Trombone and Percussion,”…written in 1972, during protests against the Vietnam War, and the score begins with the trombone softly calling out in Morse code, “Make war to make peace.”
…this is an inventively subversive work. A lone trombone represents the honking war machine, single-minded in voice, while the battery of untamed sounds from percussion is the powerful voice of the crowd, the antiwar protesters.
Kraft flits between delicate melody and jazzy drumming, with deeply affecting ease. “Encoutners XV” is a delight."
"…its enchantment is in its sound. The percussionist stands in a cage of nipple gongs that ring wonderfully and seem to make silent comment even when [the percussionist] is busy with vibraphone and drums. [The English Horn's] music, lyrical and dramatic, moves in and out of the song…"