Kira Kraftzoff

Kira Kraftzoff, leader and founder of the Rastrelli Cello Quartet, Russian Quattro, and the Rastrelli Chamber Orchestra, was born in 1971 in Leningrad, USSR (now St. Petersburg, Russia).

At age six, he began his studies at “The Special Music School for Highly Talented Children” of the St. Petersburg State Conservatory, under the tutorship of Prof. Mark Reisenstock.

Kraftzoff made his public debut at the age of 14 with the Orchestra of St. Petersburg Radio Khatchaturian’s Cello Concerto in The Grand Concert Hall of St. Petersburg Philharmonic.
In 1987, he took part in the “All-Russia Cello Competition”, and was granted a diploma there. In 1988, Kraftzoff was the youngest finalist ever in the “All-USSR Cello Competition”, winning a diploma and a special award for a “most brilliant perspective”.

Kraftzoff continued his studies with the class tutored by Prof. Anatoly Nikitin at the St. Petersburg State Conservatory named after Rimsky-Korsakov, from which he graduated with honors in 1994.
Upon graduating, he became the assistant teacher of Prof. Nikitin's class (a post he held for four years), as well as being a student of the legendary performer Daniel Schafran.

In 1993, Kraftzoff received the high distinction of representing the St. Petersburg Conservatory in Mstislav Rostropovichґs first master-class in Russia after his long exile. As a participant in a student exchange program, he came to Stuttgart, completing his studies with Prof. Peter Buck (cellist of the "Melos-Quartet"), and graduated as a student laureate.

Kira Kraftzoff has won prizes in the following international competitions:
1990 Murcia (Spain): First Prize
1992 Pretoria (South Africa) Third prize in "UNISA String Competition"
1994 Trapani (Italy): Second prize in "Chamber music Competition"(First Prize was not awarded)
1995 Munich (Germany) Third prize in "Konzertgesellschaft Wettbewerb"
1997 Vienna (Austria ): First prize in "Vienna International Competition" 

He has performed as a soloist in many of the great concert halls including:
Grand Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, Grand Hall of St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Philharmonie Berlin, Alte Oper Frankfurt, Herkulessaal und Gasteig Munich, Tonhalle Zurich, Concertgebow Amsterdam, Laiszhalle Hamburg, Stefaniesaal Graz, Mozarteum Salzburg, Grand Park Chicago, Taegue Philharmonic South Korea, and many others.

Kira Kraftzoff was invited to perform in numerous festivals all over the world, such as “Davos Music Festival”, ”Schwetzingen Festspiele”, “Beethoven Festival in Bonn”, “Grand Park Music Festival”,”Rheingau Musikfestival” “Ludwigsburger Schlossfestspiele", “Freiburger Zeltwunder Festival”, "Colorado Music Festival”, “Savonlinna Festival Finland”, “Musical Olympus St. Petersburg”, working with artists such as Gidon Kremer, Krzysztof Penderecki, Gilles Apap, Giora Feidman, and Justus Frantz.

Kraftzoff has appeared in countless radio and television broadcasts, like the NBC, BR, SWR, HR, NDR, NHK & Russia 1, which broadcasted a forty-minute film about his life and career in 1993.
He was invited to play at the Daniel Schafran Memorial Concert, where he performed the Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto for the late grandmaster of the cello in 1997.

Before he formed the Rastrelli Cello Quartet, Kraftzoff was the principal cellist in the ensemble
"St. Petersburg Soloists" (1991-1994), and from 1998 until 2005, the principal cellist of the "Wurttembergisches Kammerorchester" (Germany).

The creation of the Rastrelli Cello Quartet (2002) has made Kraftzoff world-famous; in 2010 he began his conducting career and founded the “Rastrelli Chamber Orchestra”. Most recently in 2012 “Russian Quattro” was conceived – a first-ever string quartet with two violins and two cellos.