World-renowned concert pianist and conductor Awadagin Pratt conducted a master class at Winston-Salem State University Oct. 8, in Kenneth R. Williams Auditorium.
On Oct. 10, WSSU’s Burke Singers performed with Pratt and the Winston-Salem Symphony in Reynolds Auditorium at Reynolds High School. Among his generation of concert artists, pianist Awadagin Pratt is acclaimed for his musical insight and intense performances that receive tremendous audience response and press attention throughout the United States.
Pratt first gained recognition by winning the Naumburg International Piano Competition in 1992. He was the first African-American pianist to win this prestigious competition. Two years later, Pratt was awarded a 1994 Avery Fisher Career Grant.
Born in Pittsburgh, Pratt began studying piano at the age of six. Three years later, having moved to Normal, IL, with his family, he also began studying violin. At the age of 16 he entered the University of Illinois, where he studied piano, violin, and conducting. He subsequently enrolled at the Peabody Conservatory of Music, the first student in the school’s history to receive diplomas in three performance areas – piano, violin and conducting.
Pratt has played numerous recitals throughout the U.S., including performances in New York at Lincoln Center, Washington, D.C., at the Kennedy Center, Los Angeles at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and Chicago at Orchestra Hall.