The EMF Piano Gala
Special Events Series
Marika Bournaki, piano
Awadagin Pratt, piano
William Wolfram, piano
AWADAGIN PRATT began studying piano at age six and violin at age nine. He entered the University of Illinois at age 16, studying piano, violin and conducting, and at the Peabody Conservatory he became the first student in the school's history to receive diplomas in three performance areas--piano, violin and conducting. In recognition of this achievement and for his work in the field of classical music, Mr. Pratt recently received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Johns Hopkins. He is the artistic director of the Next Generation Festival, a two-week chamber music festival in Lancaster, Pa., and appears with cellist Zuilli Bailey in duo recitals throughout the United States. Mr. Pratt is currently an associate professor of piano and artist in residence at the College Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati.
Mr. Pratt has played numerous recitals throughout the U.S., including performances at Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles, and Orchestra Hall in Chicago. His orchestral performances have included appearances with the New York Philharmonic, Orchestra of St. Luke's, Minnesota Orchestra and the Pittsburgh, St. Louis, National, Detroit, and New Jersey symphonies. Major summer festival engagements include Ravinia, Blossom, Wolf Trap, Caramoor, Aspen, the Hollywood Bowl, and the Mostly Mozart Festival in Tokyo. Internationally, Mr. Pratt has toured Japan four times and performed in Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Poland, Israel, and South Africa.
As a conductor, Mr. Pratt has participated in American Symphony Orchestra League and Conductor's Guild workshops, as well as in the National Conducting Institute, where he worked closely with Leonard Slatkin and conducted the National Symphony at the Kennedy Center. He has also conducted the Toledo, New Mexico, Winston-Salem, Santa Fe, and Prince George County symphonies, the Concertante di Chicago and .two orchestras in Japan.
Recent and upcoming appearances include recital engagements at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark and in Baltimore, La Jolla, Savannah, and Duke University, as well as appearances with the orchestras of Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Seattle, Colorado, Kansas City, Utah, Nashville, Memphis, Grand Rapids, Virginia, Winston-Salem, New Mexico, and San Antonio.
A favorite on college and university performing arts series and a strong advocate of music education, Mr. Pratt participates in many residency and outreach activities wherever he appears, including master classes, children's recitals, play/talk demonstrations and question/answer sessions for students of all ages.
Named one of the 50 Leaders of Tomorrow in Ebony magazine's special 50th anniversary issue, Awadagin Pratt has been the subject of numerous articles in the national press, including Newsweek and People magazine. He has been featured on several NPR programs, has performed on the "Today" show, "Good Morning America," and "Sesame Street," and has been profiled on CBS "Sunday Morning." He performed twice at The White House at the invitation of President and Mrs. Clinton. Mr. Pratt records exclusively on the Angel/EMI label and discography includes his debut album, A Long Way From Normal, as will as Live from South Africa, an all-Beethoven Sonata CD, Transformations, and an all-Bach disc with the St. Lawrence String Quartet.
American pianist William Wolfram was a silver medalist at both the William Kapell and the Naumburg International Piano Competitions, and a bronze medalist at the prestigious Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow. A versatile recitalist, concerto soloist, and chamber musician, he has won the respect of musicians and critics across the country and abroad. Wolfram has several recordings on the Naxos label, has played recitals in cities throughout the U.S., Asia and Europe, and has performed with dozens of the finest orchestras in the world.
William Wolfram continues his remarkable concert career in 2011-12, playing Beethoven's Concerto No. 4 with the Naples (FL) Philharmonic and Columbus ProMusica Chamber Orchestra; Brahms' Concerto No. l with Dayton and Orlando philharmonic orchestras, also Huntsville Symphony Orchestra under Gregory Vajda; Britten's Concerto in Bonn, Germany under Andrew Litton; Tchaikovsky's Concerto No. 2 with Virginia Symphony Orchestra, under JoAnn Falletta; and Liszt's Concerto No. 1 and Tchaikovsky's Concerto No. 3 with the Waterbury Symphony Orchestra. In 2010-11 he performed with the Seattle, Oregon and Wheeling symphonies, the Boise and Fort Wayne philharmonics, and the New Philharmonic (IL), in addition to several chamber music appearances. In summer 2010 he performed Mendelssohn under Christopher Seaman at the Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro (NC). Recent highlights include appearances with the North Carolina Symphony in Lowell Liebermann's Piano Concerto No. 2; with the Buffalo Philharmonic, JoAnn Falletta conducting, in Tchaikovsky's Concerto No. 2; and with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony (Canada), under Edwin Outwater, in Rachmaninoff's Concerto No. 3. He also performed Chopin's Concerto No. 2 with the City of Birmingham Symphony, conducted by Andrew Litton.
His concerto debut with the Pittsburgh Symphony under the baton of Leonard Slatkin was the first in a long succession of appearances and career relationships with numerous American conductors and orchestras. He has appeared with the San Francisco, Saint Louis, Indianapolis, Seattle and New Jersey symphonies, the Buffalo Philharmonic, the National Symphony, the Florida Orchestra, and the Grand Teton and Obispo Mozart festival orchestras, among many others. He enjoys regular and ongoing close associations with the Dallas Symphony, the Milwaukee Symphony, and the Minnesota Orchestra. Conductors with whom he has worked include Jerzy Semkow, Joseph Silverstein, Mark Wigglesworth, Jeffrey Tate, Vladimir Spivakov, Gerard Schwarz, Carlos Miguel Prieto, Jeffrey Kahane, James Judd, Roberto Minczuk, Stefan Sanderling, JoAnn Falletta, James Paul, and Carlos Kalmar. Abroad, Wolfram has appeared with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Warsaw, Moscow, and Budapest philharmonics, the Capetown and Johannesberg symphonies of South Africa, L'Orchestre de Bretagne, the orchestras of Thailand and Singapore, and the National Symphony of Peru.
An enthusiastic supporter of new music, he has collaborated with and performed music by composers such as Aaron Jay Kernis, Kenneth Frazelle, Marc Andre Dalbavie, Kenji Bunch, and Paul Chihara. His world premiere performance of the Chihara re-orchestration of Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 1, with the Milwaukee Symphony under the baton of Andreas Delfs, was met with great critical attention and acclaim.
Wolfram has extensive experience in the recording studio. For the Albany label, he recorded the piano concertos of Edward Collins with Marin Alsop and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. Wolfram has recorded, and continues to record, the solo piano music of Franz Liszt for Naxos records. These recordings include Liszt's rarely heard Etudes en douze exercices, as well as opera transcriptions of both Donizetti and Bellini. Wolfram was the focus of a full chapter in Joseph Horowitz's book, The Ivory Trade: Music and the Business of Music at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. On television, he was a featured pianist in the documentary of the 1986 Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition.
A graduate of The Juilliard School, William Wolfram resides in New York City with his wife and two daughters.
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