CCM piano professor debuts with two major US orchestras

Awadagin Pratt performs commissioned concerto with both the Boston and Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Story by CCM Graduate Student Chet Rhodes

UC College-Conservatory of Music piano professor Awadagin Pratt is preparing debut performances with both the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, playing a commissioned work by contemporary composer Jessie Montgomery.

Though he has performed extensively with prestigious groups across North America and the globe, Pratt performs with the Boston Symphony Orchestra for the first time on  Sept. 22-23, 2022. In a show of true virtuosity, Pratt will favor listeners with both J.S. Bach’s Concerto in A, and Montgomery’s recently commissioned concerto Rounds. Early next year Pratt will again perform Rounds, this time debuting with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on Jan. 6-7, 2023.

Throughout his career, Pratt has developed a monumental resume of solo appearances, competition wins and artistic honors. He has been recognized for his profound musical insights, as well as his rich and vivid performances. Considered an audience-favorite in many venues, Pratt maintains an active performing schedule in addition to his work as professor and artist-in-residence at CCM.

Rounds composer Jessie Montgomery has been widely lauded for her colorful and evocative perspective, and how artfully she infuses these views into her writing. She currently holds the position of Mead Composer-in-Residence with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and commissioned Rounds in collaboration with Pratt earlier this year. In her program notes, Montgomery indicates that this concerto was inspired by T.S. Eliot’s poem Four Quartets, and “the constancy, rhythms, and duality of life” found within the interactions of all living things. Pratt is no stranger to duality and intersectionality, and has worked extensively to improve inclusion within the classical music world. Some of his recent and on-going projects include the creation of the Nina Simone Piano Competition for African American pianists and collaborations with the Human Rights Watch and New World Symphony.

Pratt will continue to share his inspiring artistry with performances of Rounds alongside several notable groups, including the Winston-Salem Symphony on Oct. 8-9, the Minnesota Orchestra on Dec. 31- Jan. 1 and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra on March 2- 4, 2023. Tickets for the concerts may be found on the respective organizations’ websites.

About CCM Piano Studies

Piano study at CCM emphasizes the development of pianistic, musical, performing and teaching skills.

All degree programs are designed to integrate the great traditions of the past with the development of skills necessary for the demands of the music profession in the 21st century. The various degree programs are rigorous in their challenges, while retaining flexibility in order to address each student's relative strengths and weaknesses on an individual basis. Piano students at CCM can avail themselves of the enormous variety of programs offered by the college and the university to supplement the core music curriculum.

The philosophy of the CCM Piano Department is one of strong reliance on the mentoring process, by which the students' private teachers guide them both pianistically and musically, and advise them in all aspects of their overall education and development. Our goal is to prepare our students to excel in the demands of college life as well as to prepare them for the rigors of today's professional world.


Feature image at the top: Awadagin Pratt. Photo/Provided.

Headshot of Chet Rhodes

Chet Rhodes

CCM Graduate Assistant, Marketing + Communications

Currently a Bassoon Performance master’s student at CCM, Chet received a Bachelor of Music from the University of Utah. He has held positions with the Salt Lake Symphony and the Utah Philharmonia.

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