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|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. With a violin scholarship he enrolled in University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; he 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, 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. 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.
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:
- A Long Way From Normal (EMI, 1994), Pratt's debut album, including music of Liszt, Franck, Brahms, and Bach. The title is a reference to his boyhood home of Normal, Illinois.
- Beethoven Piano Sonatas (EMI, 1995), including sonatas 7, 9, 30, and 31.
- Live From South Africa (EMI, 1997), which was recorded in Cape Town (Shepard 1998), including works of Bach, Brahms, Franck, and Rachmaninoff.
- Transformations (EMI 72435 56836, November 16, 1999), including Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition; Pratt's own transcription of Bach's Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor, BWV 582; and Brahms's Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel, all played on a Bösendorfer Imperial Grand.
- Play Bach (Angel 2002), including Bach's Brandenburg Concerto no. 5 in D Major, BWV 1050; Keyboard Concerti nos. 4 in A Major, BWV 1055, and 5 in F Minor, BWV 1056; and shorter works, all with a chamber ensemble performing one to a part.
This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (September 2013) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
- (2000-04-09) Cruice, Valerie; Music; A pianist with plans for time traveling; New York Times. 
- Gelfand, Janelle. 2005. A minute with... Awadagin Pratt, The Enquirer, Dec. 2005. 
- (2005) Classical superstar joins CCM faculty at the University of Cincinnati'; University of Cincinnati Magazine (magazine.uc.edu). 
- (2003) Serinus, Jason V.; Interview with Pianist Awadagin Pratt; (hometheaterhifi.com).
- Artist Profile at Saint Paul Sunday (Saint Paul, Minnesota); (publicradio.org). 
- (1998) Shepard, T. Brooks; Classical romance from Awadagin Pratt - African American pianist excels at classical European music; (findarticles.com).
- Biography at Bach-cantatas.com 
- (2001-11-14); CFA Welcomes Acclaimed Pianist Awadagin Pratt; The Mason Gazette (gazette.gmu.edu). 
- (1995-02-16); Barron, James; ON TOUR WITH: Awadagin Pratt; Knowing What It Means to Solo; The New York Times (nytimes.com). 
- (2007-09-24); Gladstone, Valerie; Pratt's Triple Threat; The New York Sun (nysun.com). 
- (2008-11-15); One Voice Chorus  presents Bringing Out the Best: Beethoven, Brahms & Burleigh with special guest, world-class pianist Awadagin Pratt.