Pianist Awadagin Pratt will return to the Coastal Concerts stage to inaugurate the 20th anniversary season at 7 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 20, at Bethel United Methodist Church hall in Lewes.
Pratt appeared previously in a stunning 2015 performance exemplary of the depth of his acclaimed musical insight and the intense passion he brings to the work. Audience members should expect the same Oct. 20 when he plays classical masters Brahms, Beethoven and Franck, and a contemporary work of composer Lera Auerbach.
Born in Pittsburgh, Pratt began playing the piano at age 6.Three years later, when the family moved to Normal, Ill., he began studying violin. At age 16, he entered the University of Illinois studying piano, violin and conducting. He later enrolled at the Peabody Conservatory of Music, where he was the first student to earn diplomas in all three disciplines. Recently, he received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Johns Hopkins in recognition of this achievement.
Pratt has performed with many orchestras since his debut with the New York Philharmonic at Lincoln Center in 1994, and he has won numerous awards for his achievements, among them the Naumburg International Piano Competition and an Avery Fisher Career Grant.
Winning the Naumburg prize in 1992, the first African-American to do so, launched Pratt into a strenuous performance schedule, with 40 to 50 concerts in the year of the award and 70 the following year. Since then, he has performed with nearly every major orchestra in this country, at the Clinton and Obama White Houses, and on “Sesame Street.”
Also an experienced conductor, Pratt has conducted programs with the Toledo, N.M; Vancouver, Wash; Winston-Salem, N.C.; Santa Fe, N.M., and Prince George County, Md. symphonies; the Northwest Sinfonietta; the Concertante di Chicago; and several orchestras in Japan.
A great favorite in college and university performing arts series and a strong advocate of music education, Awadagin (pronounced “ah-wah-dodge-in”) Pratt participates in numerous residency and outreach activities, including master classes, children’s recitals, play/talk demonstrations, and question-and-answer sessions for students of all ages. He is also frequently invited to participate on competition juries.
Pratt is currently professor of piano at the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, and he continues to give up to 30 performances a year throughout the United States and abroad.
Tickets to the Oct. 20 concert are $35, with free admission to each attendee 18 and under with an accompanying adult. Discounted tickets are available at $10 for students 19 and older, and for active-duty and retired career military personnel. Valid IDs are required for student and military discounts.
For more information about Coastal Concerts, this season’s concerts, volunteer opportunities and to purchase tickets, go to www.coastalconcerts.org or call 1-888-212-6458.