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Awadagin Pratt

Awadagin Pratt, piano
Among his generation of concert artists, pianist Awadagin Pratt is acclaimed for his musical insight and intensely involving performances in recital and with symphony orchestras.
Born in Pittsburgh, Awadagin Pratt began studying piano at the age of 6. Three years later, having moved to Normal, Illinois, with his family, 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 – piano, violin and conducting.
In 1992, Pratt won the Naumburg International Piano Competition and two years later was awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant. Since then, he has played numerous recitals throughout the United States, including performances at Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles, Chicago’s Orchestra Hall and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. His many orchestral performances include appearances with the New York Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra and the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Baltimore, Indianapolis, Atlanta, St. Louis, National and Detroit symphonies among many others. Summer festival engagements include appearances at Ravinia, Blossom, Wolftrap, Caramoor, Aspen and the Hollywood Bowl.
Also, an experienced conductor, Pratt has conducted programs with the Toledo, New Mexico, Vancouver, Washington, Winston-Salem and Santa Fe symphonies, the Northwest Sinfonietta, the Concertante di Chicago and several orchestras in Japan. Upcoming conducting activities include play/conducting the Chamber Orchestra of Pittsburgh and conducting performances of Porgy and Bess for the Greensboro Opera.
A great favorite on college and university performing arts series and a strong advocate of music education, Awadagin Pratt participates in numerous residency and outreach activities wherever he appears. He is also frequently invited to participate on international competition juries, such as the Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition in Israel, the Cleveland International Piano Competition, Minnesota e-Competition, the Unisa International Piano Competition in South Africa and the Competition for Young Pianists in Memory of Vladimir Horowitz in the Ukraine.
Pratt’s recordings for Angel/EMI include A Long Way From Normal, an all Beethoven Sonata CD, Live From South AfricaTransformations and an all Bach disc with the St. Lawrence String Quartet. His most recent recordings are the Brahms Sonatas for Cello and Piano with Zuill Bailey for Telarc and a recording of the music of Judith Lang Zaimont with the Harlem String Quartet for Navona Records.
Awadagin Pratt is also the founder and Artistic Director of the Art of the Piano and produces a festival every spring featuring performances and conversations with well-known faulty members and pianists. Through the Art of the Piano Foundation, Pratt has commissioned seven composers – Jessie Montgomery, Alvin Singleton, Judd Greenstein, Tyshawn Sorey, Jonathan Bailey Holland, Paola Prestini and Peteris Vasks – to compose works for piano with string orchestra and/or A Roomful of Teeth. Singleton’s work was premiered with the New World Symphony in April 2021 and Montgomery’s concerto was performed in the spring of 2022, by a consortium of nine U.S. orchestras, including the St. Louis, Baltimore, Milwaukee and Indianapolis symphonies.
Pratt is currently Professor of Piano and Artist-in-Residence at the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. He also served as the Artistic Director of the World Piano Competition in Cincinnati and the Next Generation Festival. In recognition of his achievements in the field of classical music, he received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Johns Hopkins University, as well as honorary doctorates from Illinois Wesleyan and Susquehanna Universities and delivered commencement addresses at those institutions and at Peabody Conservatory.
Awadagin Pratt is a Yamaha artist. For more information, please visit

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