Kira Kraftzoff, leader and founder of Rastrelli Cello Quartet was born in 1971 in Leningrad, USSR (now St.Petersburg, Russia). Aged 6, he started his studies at “The Special Music School for Highly Talented Children” of St. Petersburg State Conservatory, under tutorship of Prof. Mark Reisenstock.
He had his public debut at the age of 14 with the Orchestra of St.Petersburg Radio performing The Cello Concerto by A. Khatchaturian in The Grand Concert Hall of St. Petersburg Philharmony.
In 1987, he took part in the “All-Russia Cello Competition”, and was granted a diploma there. In 1988, he was the youngest finalist ever in the All-USSR Cello Competition, winning a diploma and a special award for a ”most brilliant perspective”.
He continued his studies with the class tutored by Prof. Anatoly Nikitin at St.Petersburg State Conservatory named after Rimsky-Korsakow, which he graduated with honors in 1994.
On graduating, he was the assistant teacher of Prof. Nikitin's class for four years, as well as being a student by master classes of the legendary performer Daniel Schafran.
In 1993, he received the high distinction of representing St. Petersburg Conservatory in Mstislav Rostropovichґs first master-class in Russia after his long exile.
As a partaker of a student exchange program he came to Stuttgart, completing his studies with Prof. Peter Buck (Cellist of the "Melos-Quartett") and graduating as a student laureate.
Kira Kraftzoff won prizes in the following international competitions:
1990 Murcia (Spain): First Prize
He performed as a soloist in many of the great concert halls.
Among these are : The Grand Hall of Moscow Conservatory, The Grand Hall of St. Petersburg Philharmony, Alte Oper Frankfurt, Berliner Philharmonie, Tonhalle Zürich, Laeiszhalle Hamburg, Stefaniesaal in Graz, Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, Grant Park Chicago, Tonhalle Zurich, Mozarteum Salzburg, Taegue Philharmony and many others.
He was invited to perform in numerous festivals all over the world, such as "Davos Music Festival", "Freiburger Zeltwunder Festival", "Schleswig Holstein Music Festival" "Colorado Music Festival", "Savonlinna Festival Finland", “Musical Olympus St.Petersburg”, working with artists like Gidon Kremer, Krzysztof Penderecki, Gilles Apap, Giora Feidman, Jorg Faerber, Casal Quartet and Justus Frantz.
He appeared in countless radio and television broadcasts, like the BR, SWR, WDR, Arte, NDR, HR, NHK, NBC, FM Classic Radio Chicago, South Korea State TV & the Russian State TV, which broadcasted a forty minute film about his life and career.
Kira was invited to play the Daniel Schafran Memorial Concert, playing the Saint-Saens Cello Concerto for the late grandmaster of Cello in 1997.
From 1991 until 1994, he was the principal Cellist in the ensemble "St. Petersburg Soloists", and from 1998 until 2005, - the principal Cellist of the "Wurttembergisches Kammerorchester" (Germany).