Awadagin Pratt, piano
Among the next generation of concert artists, pianist Awadagin Pratt is increasingly acclaimed as one of tomorrow's superstars with his musical insight and intensely involving performances receiving tremendous audience response and press attention throughout the United States.
Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Awadagin Pratt began studying piano at the age of six. Three years later, having moved to Normal, Illinois, he also began studying violin. At the age of 16, he entered the University of Illinois, where he studied piano, violin, and conducting. He subsequently enrolled at the Peabody Conservatory of Music, where he became the first student in the school's history to receive diplomas in three performance areas.
In 1992, Mr. Pratt won the Naumberg International Piano Competition and two years later was awarded a 1994 Avery Fisher Career Grant. He has played numerous recitals throughout the U.S., including performances in New York at Lincoln Center, Washington, D.C. at the Kennedy Center, Los Angeles at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, and Chicago at Orchestra Hall. His many orchestral performances include appearances with the New York Philharmonic, orchestra of St. Luke's, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Atlanta, Baltimore, National, Detroit, Indianapolis, Seattle, Milwaukee, Cincinnati, and New Jersey symphonies and the New York Chamber Symphony. Major summer festival engagements have included the Ravinia, Blossom, Wolf Trap, Caramoor, and Aspen festivals, the Hollywood Bowl, and the Mostly Mozart Festival in Tokyo.
Recent and upcoming performances highlights include return recital engagements at the Kennedy Center, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark and the Bermuda Festival and repeat appearances with the orchestras of Atlanta, Baltimore, Milwaukee, Seattle, Honolulu, Kansas City, Buffalo, Syracuse, New Mexico, and Toledo. Mr. Pratt has also appeared with cellist Zuill Bailey in duo recitals during the 2001-2002 season.
A great favorite on college and university performing arts series and a strong advocate of arts education, Awadagin Pratt participates in numerous residency and outreach activities wherever he appears; these activities may include master classes, children's recitals, play/talk demonstrations, and questions/answer sessions for students of all ages.
Internationally, Mr. Pratt made his debut appearances in Japan in the fall of 1996 on a tour which included recitals in Osaka and Tokyo's Suntory Hall and a performance with the Tokyo Philharmonic. He returned to Japan in 1997, 1999, and 2000 to play recitals in the major cities and conduct a concert in Tokyo's Sumida Triphony Hall. In Europe, he has been a participant in the 1994, 1996, and 2000 Kammermusikpodium Festival in Braunschweig, Germany, and performed in Italy, Switzerland, Poland, and Israel. He has also appeared in recital in Cape Town, South Africa.
Awadagin Pratt has been the subject of numerous articles in the national press, including Newsweek, People Magazine, USA Weekend, New York Newsday, Emerge, and Mirabella. He was named one of the 50 Leaders of Tomorrow in Ebony Magazine's special 50th anniversary issue, and has been featured on National Public Radio's Performance Today and Weekend Edition. Mr. Pratt has performed in the Today Show, Good Morning America, and Sesame Street, appeared in a segment of CBS Sunday Morning, and was one of the featured soloists on PBS's Live from the Kennedy Center: A Salute to Slava. He has also performed twice at the White House at the invitation of President and Mrs. Clinton.
In September 1993, Mr. Pratt signed an exclusive recording contract with Angel/EMI. His debut album, A Long Way From Normal, was released in 1994. Subsequent recital discs include an all Beethoven Sonata CD, Live from South Africa, and Transformation. His next Angel/EMI recording will be an all Bach disc with the St. Lawrence String Quartet.
Mr. Pratt resides in Albuquerque and in his spare time is an active tennis player, devoted chess enthusiast, and enjoys fine wines.
April 21, 2002