Kraus founded the Toronto Baroque Ensemble (1958-63), whose members were Elizabeth Benson Guy, soprano, Nicholas Fiore, flute, Donald Whitton, cello, and Corol McCartney, violin. In 1965 with the flutist Robert Aitken she formed the Aitken-Kraus Duo, which was active until 1986. After a concert by Kraus and Aitken at the St Lawrence Centre, Toronto, the critic John Kraglund wrote: 'She is still Canada's outstanding harpsichordist ... Anyone accustomed to most of today's harpsichordists, in or out of Canada, is likely to wonder what could be special about a particular one, as most of them sound exceedingly sober, lacking in imagination and equipped with tin instruments. That, essentially, is where Miss Kraus differs. The tin has apparently been omitted from her harpsichord, which projects a resonant warmth and tone ... not associated with harpsichords. No less important, when she is performing, all Baroque compositions do not sound as if they came out of the same school' (Toronto Globe and Mail, 11 Dec 1976). Kraus appeared as a pianist as well, performing with many distinguished musicians. In 1979 she was the partner of the soprano Lois Marshall in a memorable performance of Schubert's song cycle Die schöne Müllerin at Hart House, Toronto, and two years later joined her in a Hugo Wolf recital.
Kraus began to teach piano privately in 1939, coached lieder and chamber music and taught harpsichord, accompanying, and Baroque performance practice at the RCMT 1943-69 and at the University of Toronto 1963-76 and part time after 1976. Among her pupils were Douglas Bodle, Austin Clarkson, Elizabeth Keenan, R. Murray Schafer, Patrick Wedd, and Valerie Weeks. Singers she coached include Russell Braun, Elizabeth Benson Guy, Ingemar Korjus, Andrew MacMillan, Mary Morrison, Gary Relyea, Roxolana Roslak, and Teresa Stratas.
She succeeded Ernesto Barbini as director, 1963-76, of the Collegium Musicum (Toronto) for the schooling of advanced faculty students in the performance style of the Baroque. She was also a master class teacher at the Banff CA, at the Shawnigan Summer School of the Arts, and at several universities. She received a citation from the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations for 'an outstanding contribution to university teaching' in 1973, was named an 'Outstanding Woman of the Province of Ontario' in 1975, and received a Toronto Arts Award in 1990 and the Order of Ontario in 1991. She was appointed a member of the Order of Canada in 1992, and continued to teach and coach until a few months before her death. Kraus' work combined to a rare degree qualities of scholarship, lively interpretation, technical skill, and teaching ability. Her harpsichord is at Library and Archives Canada. Kraus was married to the chemist Erwin Dentay.
- Partita in B Minor. Ca 1960. RCI 210
Mozart Variations in D - Scarlatti Four Sonatas. 1952. Hallmark RS-2
Schubert Die schöne Müllerin. Marshall, sop. 1996 . CBC Records, PSCD 2010
J.S. Bach. Greta Kraus Plays Bach. 1998 [1954-1969]. CBC Records, PSCD
See also Discographies for Aitken; Guy; Marshall; Toronto Mendelssohn Choir.
Author William Schabas,Betty Nygaard King
Milne, Dorothy. 'Greta Kraus, Canada's eminent harpsichordist,' CRMA, vol 5, Oct-Nov 1946
Harris, Christopher. 'A generous inspiration to youthful musicians,' Toronto Globe and Mail, 26 Sep 1990.
Sachs, Harvey. "She shall have music," Saturday Night, July/Aug 1994
"Greta Kraus on CBC records." Web site: http://cbcrecords.cbc.ca
Links to Other Sites
Schubert: Die Schöne Müllerin
Audio clip featuring Lois Marshall (mezzo-soprano) and Greta Kraus (piano.) From allmusic.com.
History of the Austrian Migration to Canada
Read excerpts from the book "History of the Austrian Migration to Canada." Scroll down to Chapter 7 for brief notes about prominent Canadian artists and performers of Austrian descent. From Google Books.
La Scena Musicale offers brief profiles of prominent Canadian pianists.