Eclectic composer and double bassist Viktor Krauss was born in Champaign, IL, in 1969. He is the brother of Alison Krauss. His youth was spent listening to soundtracks and instrumental music, eventually leading him to the piano and trumpet. After witnessing the power and girth of the double bass at a middle school concert, the budding musician began looking outside of the traditional music programs offered by the public school system. He soon played with local jazz groups and accompanying others. In high school, Krauss explored the worlds of rock, soul, and R&B and began to write material that shared these new influences, eventually leading to the study of bass, voice, electronic, and tape music at the University of Illinois.
A Zappa-esque rock unit called Difficult Listening was formed with fellow musician Sean Smith in the late '80s. The duo played locally at (mostly) university venues before disbanding in 1992, when Krauss joined progressive bluegrass pioneer Peter Rowan's Free Mexican Airforce group, where he found himself playing for Mountain Stage and Prairie Home Companion. After his tenure with Rowan, he began sixteen years of work with Lyle Lovett, touring and recording with the country icon, including contributing to recordings such as My Baby Don’t Tolerate, Step Inside This House, and the latest Natural Forces. In 1995, Viktor started a long recording and touring collaboration with Bill Frisell. Such recordings with Frisell include Nashville, Gone, Just Like a Train, Floratone, East/West, Good Dog, Happy Man, Disfarmer and The Sweetest Punch. Krauss has also been seen on stage with artists such as Carly Simon, Shelby Lynne, Chet Atkins, Larry Carlton, The Chieftains, Elvis Costello, Emmylou Harris, Jewel, Melinda Doolittle and most recently a trio consisting of Jerry Douglas, Krauss and Omar Hakim.
In between, he managed to find the time to contribute bass, guitar and/or keyboard instruments to countless recordings by the likes of Bill Frisell, Jerry Douglas, Joan Baez, Indigo Girls, Dolly Parton, Graham Nash, Michael McDonald, John Fogerty, & Alison Krauss. With credits for producing, composing, recording, and touring, Krauss finally found the time to record his solo debut, Far From Enough. Featuring an all-star band consisting of Frisell, Jerry Douglas, Steve Jordan, and sister Alison, it was released in February 2004, and peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard® Contemporary Jazz Chart. Krauss' second album, II , which featured core band Dean Parks and Matt Chamberlain and appearances by Shawn Colvin, Ben Taylor and Lovett as well as a cover of Pink Floyd's "Shine on You Crazy Diamond," emerged three years later.
In 2006, Viktor was selected as a Fellow for the prestigious Composers’ Lab at the Sundance Institute and his film credits include three compositions in Ken Burns’ documentary Baseball: The Tenth Inning, composing credits for the films Twister, Robert Altman’s Dr. T. and the Women and the independent film, Dodge City. Also, songs from his records are featured in the documentaries I Hear Thunder, & The Oasis Project.
The song “Lie Awake” by Viktor, co-written with singer-songwriter Angel Snow, will appear on the Alison Krauss + Union Station April 12th release of Paper Airplane. Two additional songs (“A Place Outside” and “These Days”) also penned by Krauss and Snow will appear on special editions of Paper Airplane.
Krauss is an active producer. He is currently producing recordings by Clay Evans, Angel Snow and Mike Willis. Past credits have included Americana artist Jason White’s Shades of Grey and Tonight’s Top Story for which the arrangement of the controversial “Red Ragtop” was covered by Tim McGraw. Other projects have included soft-rock artist Michael Johnson, acid-jazz guitarist Jack Silverman as well as specific songs for or with Alison Krauss.
Viktor performs his original music regularly with his band consisting of Robert Crawford (Drums), Todd Lombardo (acoustic guitar), and Steve Walsh (electric guitar). Other band configurations have included musicians Matt Chamberlain, Dean Parks, Adam Levy, Mitch Watkins, Jack Silverman, Jim White, Steve Kovalcheck and Tim Young.