AWADAGIN PRATT began studying piano at 6 and violin at 9. He entered the University of Illinois at 16, studying piano, violin and conducting. Later, at the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University, 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, Pratt received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Johns Hopkins.
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 EMF, Ravinia, Blossom, Wolf Trap, Caramoor, Aspen, the Hollywood Bowl, and the Mostly Mozart Festival in Tokyo. Internationally, Pratt has toured Japan several times and performed in Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Poland, Israel, and South Africa.
As a conductor, 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 orchestras in Japan.
A favorite on college and university performing arts series and a strong advocate of music education, 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 50th-anniversary issue, 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’s Sunday Morning. He performed twice at The White House at the invitation of President and Mrs. Clinton.
Pratt records exclusively on the Angel/EMI label and discography includes his debut album, A Long Way from Normal, as well as Live from South Africa, an all-Beethoven Sonata CD, Transformations, and an all-Bach disc with the St. Lawrence String Quartet.
Pratt is the professor of piano at the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. He was also the artistic director of the World Piano Competition in Cincinnati and is currently the artistic director of the Art of the Piano Festival at CCM.