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Lili Kraus Collection

Identifier: MS 128

Collection Scope and Content Summary

The collection includes articles, newspaper clippings, and news releases related to her career. The collection also contains master class brochures, concert notices, and papers related to Kraus' teaching at TCU. The bulk of the material concerns the preparation for the 1983 gala TCU hosted in her honor and the production of the Lili Kraus video broadcast. Gala budget sheets, invitations, speeches, scripts, and publicity plans are all included. The broadcast information includes news articles, photographs, permissions, a list of the Fort Worth stations involved with the broadcast, and promotional materials. The collection does not contain Kraus's personal papers.


  • Creation: 1968-1986
  • Creation: Majority of material found in 1968-1986 inclusive, 1968-1983


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Detailed Biography

Lili Kraus was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1905. At the age of six, she began playing the piano. Kraus's mother enrolled her at the Royal Academy of Music at the age of eight. She developed an eleven-note hand span. Bela Bartok and Zoltan Kodaly instructed her in native Hungarian music. At seventeen, she graduated from the academy with the highest degree and enrolled in the Vienna Conservatory of Music. Under Eduard Steuermann and Artur Schnabel, she developed a reputation as a classicist. At the age of twenty-two, she was appointed a professor at the Vienna Conservatory.

After recording the complete Beethoven violin sonatas with violinist Szymon Goldberg in 1935, she established herself as an international artist. In 1954, a French firm in conjunction with the Haydn Society of Boston commissioned her to record the entire works of Mozart, including his chamber music and twenty-seven piano concertos. Kraus recorded over thirteen discs. While on tour at the height of World War II, Kraus and her husband were captured by the Japanese and interned for three years, the first of which she spent confined in an underground cell with twelve other women. Internment guards allowed her to play the piano for an hour once a week. Following her release, she supported her husband and children with a concert circuit in 1948.

Years after world tours, she became Texas Christian University's first artist-in-residence in 1967. She taught Master Classes and judged the annual Van Cilburn International Piano Competitions. Kraus's teaching method focused on the music, not technique. She expected her students to have mastered their scales and arpeggios. She wanted students to know harmony, melody, and rhythm. In 1980, TCU conferred an honorary degree upon her. She retired from the University in 1983. For her years of dedication, TCU arranged for her a gala and raised a $100,000 endowment for a Lili Kraus Young Artist Scholarship Fund. Two years after her retirement, Fort Worth Broadcast Productions and KERA Public Broadcasting produced a half-hour film of her life. In 1986, eighty-three year old Kraus passed away following a surgical procedure in North Carolina.


1.0 linear feet

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated in August 10, 1994 by Andy Kesling from Texas Christian University's Public Relations Office.

Guide to the Lili Kraus Collection
Manuscript Group 128
Compiled by Miriam Elizabeth Villanueva
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Archives and Special Collections, Mary Couts Burnett Library Repository

TCU Box 298400
2800 S. University Drive
Fort Worth, Texas 76129-0001
Fort Worth Texas 76129
(817) 257-4566
(817) 257-7282 (Fax)