Pratt--also a noted orchestral conductor and professor at the University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music-is currently on a national tour, and his recital at Occidental will be his only performance in California. Besides the United States, Pratt has played in sold-out concerts throughout Europe and Japan. He has also performed three times at the White House-twice for President Bill Clinton and then-First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, and once for President Barack Obama '83 and First Lady Michelle Obama.
Reviews of Pratt over the years have lauded his performances and musical interpretations for their "fluid energy," "singing line," "technical élan," and "tsunami of sound."
"Awadagin Pratt is one of the great American musicians of his generation, and Occidental is very proud to host him," said Irene M. Girton, associate dean and head of the music department at the College. "We're looking forward to an electrifying performance, as well as an intimate master class with Occidental piano students. "
The October 29 program reflects both Pratt's lyricism at the keyboard as well as his technical prowess. He will perform Liszt's legendary Sonata in B Minor, S. 178 and follow that with Chopin's trill-resplendent Nocturne in B major, Op. 62, No. 1, and the meditative Sgambati transcription of Christoph Gluck's "Melodie," from the 18th-century opera "Orfeo ed Euridice." Pratt is also scheduled to perform modern works. They include "Valentine" and "Nocturne for the Left Hand Alone" by noted American jazz composer Fred Hersch.
Tickets are $11.50-$16.50 (free for Oxy students, faculty and staff) and can be purchased at the Occidental College bookstore or online. The College performance venue, Thorne Hall, is located at 1600 Campus Road, Los Angeles, 90041. For maps and directions, go here. Handicapped parking is available.
A native of Pittsburgh, Pratt was a prodigy in two instruments-piano and violin. As he grew older, he became a triple threat: At the Peabody Conservatory of Music, he was the first student in the school's history to receive diplomas in three performance areas-piano, violin and conducting.
Pratt won first prize at the prestigious Naumburg International Piano Competition in 1992, and two years later was awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant, given by the Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Artist Program to instrumentalists with great potential for solo careers. In 2008, Pratt received the Peabody Distinguished Alumnus Award for his many achievements.
His previous U.S. concerts have included performances at the Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, and the Hollywood Bowl. He has also performed with many symphony orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra and the Atlanta and Baltimore symphonies.
As a conductor, Pratt has led the National Symphony, as well as the Toledo, New Mexico, and Winston-Salem, NC symphonies, and two orchestras in Japan. Represented by CM Artists, Pratt has recorded eight albums. His most recent are "Zaimont: Eternal Evolution" (Navona Records) with the Harlem Quartet and "Brahms: Works for Piano and Cello" (Telarc) with cellist Zuill Bailey.