Robert Craft

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Robert Craft is name-checked on the cover of "Freak Out!" (1966) under the heading "These People Have Contributed Materially In Many Ways To Make Our Music What It Is. Please Do Not Hold It Against Them". He also appears in "The Real Frank Zappa Book" (1989).

Also mentioned in "My Favorite Records", an FZ penned article in Hit Parader (1967): "You ought to look into the complete works of Anton Webern on Columbia (K4L-232), conducted by Robert Craft. That's four records. Robert Craft is not always an excellent conductor, and his performances are not always absolutely accurate, but they probably didn't give him a very good budget because it was modern music, and they wanted to get the job over with, and he was probably under pressure, so don't mind the mistakes that are on there if you're following it with a score." And: "Also, Pierre Boulez conducts his own composition: 'Le Marteau Sans Maître'. I don't know what label that's on, but it's the one with Boulez conducting. The one by Robert Craft has too many mistakes."

Craft holds a unique place in the world of music today. In 1947, while still a student at Juilliard, he wrote to Igor Stravinsky asking to borrow the score and instrumental parts for his Symphonies of Wind Instruments in order to perform the piece the following spring at a concert in Town Hall. Stravinsky received the letter on the same day that he began to prepare a new version of the work, and, as he later said, felt something auspicious in the coincidence. However that may be, he answered that he would like to conduct the premiere of the work in its new form in Craft's concert. An astonished Craft replied that this would be a great honor but that he was unable to pay the composer's fee. Therewith, in an unprecedented gesture, Stravinsky agreed to waive his cachet. In April 1948 he shared a program with Craft, the first of many during the next twenty years.

Robert Craft has conducted most of the world's major orchestras in the United States; (New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, San Francisco, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Minneapolis), Canada, Europe, Russia, Japan, Korea, Mexico South America, Australia, Newand New Zealand. He is the first American to have conducted Alban Berg's "Wozzeck and Lulu".

Craft led the world premieres of Stravinsky's later works: "Von Himmel hoch", Agon", "The Flood", "Abraham and Isaac", "Variations" (Chicago Symphony), "Introitus", and "Requiem Canticles".

Craft has recorded a ten volume discography of the music of Igor Stravinsky on the Music Masters Label.