Awadagin Pratt (//; born March 6, 1966) is a concert pianist born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
|Birth name||Awadagin Pratt|
|Born||March 6, 1966|
|Origin||Normal, Illinois, U.S.|
Awadagin Pratt began piano lessons at six with Leslie Sompong and violin lessons at age nine, having moved to Normal, Illinois. With a violin scholarship he enrolled in University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; he then transferred to the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore as a pianist and as a violinist.
In 1992 Pratt became the first African-American pianist to win the Naumburg International Piano Competition since then, "he has performed with nearly every major orchestra in this country [the United States], at the Clinton White House, Obama White House and on Sesame Street" (Cruice 2000). Winning the Naumburg prize launched Pratt into a strenuous performance schedule, with 40 to 50 concerts that year and 70 the following year, when he signed with the New York City artist management firm IMG Artists. In 1994 Pratt made his debut at Lincoln Center with the New York Philharmonic (Shepard 1998).
In fall 2004 Pratt accepted a position as Assistant Professor of Piano and Artist in Residence at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, rising to the rank of Professor of Piano. His recital debut there came on December 1, 2005 (Gelfand 2005). Pratt continues to give up to 30 performances a year throughout the United States and abroad, and he hopes to add performances on the violin, both solo and in chamber music, to his recital calendar. A recital on March 3, 2020, drew praises for its "old-master richness." Pratt is also an experienced conductor, having led orchestras in the US and Japan.
Writers often note Pratt's appearance. "Pratt takes the stage at Boston's Jordan Hall in a subtle but colorful green-and-lavender striped and checked shirt. His black pants reveal a dash of whimsicality below the cuffs: socks adorned with a portrait of Van Gogh" (Shepard 1998). Among other composers whose works he has espoused are Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, Johannes Brahms, César Franck, Edvard Grieg, Modest Mussorgsky, and Sergei Rachmaninoff.
Pratt has released several recordings on compact disc: