Born in Pittsburgh, Awadagin Pratt began studying piano at the age of six and three years later began studying violin after moving to Normal, IL with his family. At the age of 16, he entered the University of Illinois where he studied piano, violin, and conducting. He later enrolled at the Peabody Conservatory of Music where he became the first student in the school’s history to receive diplomas in three performance areas: piano, violin, and conducting. In 1992, Pratt won the Naumburg International Piano Competition and two years later was awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant. He received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Johns Hopkins in 2008 and an honorary doctorate from Illinois Wesleyan University in 2012.
Pratt has played numerous recitals throughout the U.S. including performances at Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles, Chicago’s Orchestra Hall, and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. His orchestral performances include appearances with the New York Philharmonic, the Minnesota Orchestra, and the Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Baltimore, St. Louis, National, Detroit, and New Jersey symphonies, among many others. Summer festival engagements include appearances at Ravinia, Blossom, Wolf Trap, Caramoor, Aspen, and the Hollywood Bowl. Internationally, Pratt has toured Japan four times and performed in Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Poland, Israel, Columbia, and South Africa. In 2009, he was one of four artists selected to perform at the White House, including student workshops hosted by the First Lady Michelle Obama, and a concert for guests including President Obama. He has performed two other times at the White House, at the invitation of President and Mrs. Clinton. Pratt has also conducted programs with the Toledo, New Mexico, Vancouver (WA), Winston-Salem, Santa Fe, and Prince George County symphonies, the Northwest Sinfonietta, the Concertante di Chicago, and several orchestras in Japan.
Pratt’s recordings for Angel/EMI include an all Beethoven Sonata CD, A Long Way From Normal; Live From South Africa; Transformations; and an all Bach disc with the St. Lawrence String Quartet. His most recent recordings are the Brahms Sonatas for Cello and Piano with Zuill Bailey (Telarc) and a recording of the music of Judith Lang Zaimont with the Harlem Quartet (Navona Records).
Pratt is currently a professor of piano at the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati (CCM). He has served as the artistic director of the World Piano Competition in Cincinnati and is currently the artistic director of the Art of the Piano Festival at CCM. He also serves on the faculty of the Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro, North Carolina where he coaches chamber music, teaches individual pianists, and performs chamber music and concertos with the festival orchestra.