William Kraft (*1923)
William Kraft was born in Chicago in 1923. He completed music studies With honors (in composition and percussion) at Columbia University. He studied composition with (among others) Henry Brant, Henry Cowell, Paul Henry Lang, Otto Luening and Vladimir Ussachevsky, percussion with Morris Goldenberg, tympani with Saul Goodman and conducting with Rudolf Thomas and Fritz Zweig.
For 8 years he was percussionist and then 18 years principal tympanist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, where he was also assistant conductor for three years. From 1981 to 1985 he was Composer in Residence with this same famous orchestra. His works, premiered and often recorded by the greatest contemporary virtuosi, have won him many prizes and awards, including the First Prize in the Kennedy/Friedheim Competition in 1990 for his work «Veils and Variations» for horn and orchestra.
William Kraft has also written numerous scores for film and television. He now teaches at the major California universities.