The Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester, and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, jointly present Awadagin Pratt: Black in America, to be held at Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre on Tuesday, April 12 at 7:30 p.m.
Awadagin Pratt: Black in America is described by Pratt himself: “Fusing music performed by Pratt, original still and moving pictures by filmmaker Alrick Brown, and a Pratt-authored and delivered narration, Awadagin Pratt: Black in America captures the complexities of America’s original sin by chronicling the renowned pianist’s life from his time as a music student at the Peabody Conservatory through his ascent to international acclaim through graphic accounts of police stops for Driving While Black.”
“Until they’d heard the original audio version of this program, many people who knew me – and had known me for years – had no idea of the extent of my experience of Driving While Black,” shares Pratt. “I’m pleased the RPO and Eastman have decided to make this part of my appearance in Rochester. Those who attend Black in America will hopefully begin to understand this experience that unfortunately is incredibly common, regardless of someone’s ’success’ or status. My hope and desire is that with that understanding will also come change.”
Black in America will also include musical performances, with Awadagin Pratt at the piano and selected Eastman student and faculty participants:
- Bach: first movement of Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D major, BWV 1050
- Soloists: Awadagin Pratt, piano; Jahshanti Henry, flute; Professor George Taylor, violin
- Ensemble: Adrian Jackson, violin; Arthur Nyanfor, viola; Boubacar Diallo, cello; Janae Gaddy, double bass
- Liszt: Funérailles
- Film and pre-recorded piano, with Awadagin Pratt
- Messiaen: “Praise to the Immortality of Jesus”, movement VIII from Quartet for the End of Time
- Chihiro Kakishima, violin; Awadagin Pratt, piano
“Having first attended this presentation last October, I was profoundly moved by the honesty and directness of Mr. Pratt’s comments,” stated Jamal Rossi, Joan and Martin Messinger Dean of the Eastman School of Music. “This is a presentation I very much wanted to share with the entire Eastman and Rochester communities, and I am thrilled to partner with the RPO to make this a reality.”
“We’re proud to be a partner in this moving, multi-media event with Mr. Pratt and the Eastman School of Music,” says RPO President & CEO Curtis S. Long. “We also look forward to his appearances with the orchestra later that week, in which he will give composer Jessie Montgomery’s Piano Concerto, an RPO co-commission, its exciting Rochester Premiere.”
Tickets to Awadagin Pratt: Black in America are free to the public, but a ticket is required to attend. To reserve a ticket please visit: https://my.rpo.org/948/953
This concert is sponsored by Two Point Capital Management, Jack McGowan and Kathy Muscato.
Mr. Pratt will make his RPO debut Thursday, April 14 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, April 16 at 8 p.m. in Kodak Hall in Masur Conducts, featuring Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Music Director Ken-David Masur. In addition to Pratt’s Rochester premiere of Jessie Montgomery’s Piano Concert – entitled “Rounds for Piano and String Orchestra” – the program will include Johannes Brahms’s Variations on a Theme by Hayden and Mendelssohn’s Fifth Symphony. A pre-concert talk with Mr. Pratt and WXXI’s Julia Figueras will take place on hour prior to each performance. Visit rpo.org for tickets.
Eastman Media inquiries: Jessica Kaufman, Director of Communications, (585)278-4743, firstname.lastname@example.org
RPO Media inquiries: Sally Cohen PR, (585)749-1795, email@example.com
Awadagin Pratt was the first student in the history of Peabody Conservatory of Music to receive diplomas in three performance areas- piano, violin and conducting. In 1992, Mr. Pratt won the Naumburg International Piano Competition and in 1994 awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant. Since then, he has played numerous recitals throughout the US including performances at Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles, and Chicago’s Orchestra Hall. His many orchestral performances include appearances with the New York Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra and the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Baltimore, Indianapolis, Atlanta, St. Louis, National, Detroit and New Jersey symphonies among many others. Internationally Mr. Pratt has performed in Japan, Germany, Italy, Brazil, Switzerland, Poland, Israel, and South Korea, Colombia and South Africa.
Mr. Pratt is Professor of Piano and Artist in Residence at the CCM at the University of Cincinnati and is currently President and Artistic Director of the Art of the Piano Foundation in Cincinnati. He has received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Johns Hopkins University as well as honorary doctorates from the Illinois Wesleyan and Susquehanna Universities. He has delivered commencement addresses at those institutions as well as at Peabody Conservatory.
About Eastman School of Music:
The Eastman School of Music, of the University of Rochester was founded in 1921 by industrialist and philanthropist George Eastman (1854-1932), founder of Eastman Kodak Company. It was the first professional school of the University of Rochester. Mr. Eastman’s dream was that his school would provide a broad education in the liberal arts as well as superb musical training.
More than 900 students are enrolled in the Collegiate Division of the Eastman School of Music—about 500 undergraduates and 400 graduate students. They come from almost every state, and approximately 23 percent are from other countries. They are taught by a faculty comprised of more than 130 highly regarded performers, composers, conductors, scholars, and educators. They are Pulitzer Prize winners, Grammy winners, Emmy winners, Guggenheim fellows, ASCAP Award recipients, published authors, recording artists, and acclaimed musicians who have performed in the world’s greatest concert halls. Each year, Eastman’s students, faculty members, and guest artists present more than 900 concerts to the Rochester community. Additionally, more than 1,700 members of the Rochester community, from young children through senior citizens, are enrolled in the Eastman Community Music School.
Currently celebrating its centennial year, Eastman School of Music highlights include acclaimed guest artists performing alongside Eastman’s ensembles; national academic and music conferences; alumni events throughout the country; a documentary being produced in partnership with WXXI, and more. Pillar events include: “Opening of the Doors,” a community-driven celebration scheduled for March 2-6, 2022; “100 concerts to celebrate 100 years”; and a Meliora Weekend celebration in Fall 2022. For up-to-date information on the Eastman Centennial, please visit our Centennial website at https://www.esm.rochester.edu/100.
About Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra:
The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) has been committed to enriching and inspiring our community through the art of music since its origins in 1922. The RPO presents approximately 150 concerts and broadcasts a year, serving up to 170,000 people through ticketed events, education and community engagement activities, and concerts in schools and community centers throughout the region. Music Director Andreas Delfs joins the ranks of former notable RPO music directors, including Erich Leinsdorf, David Zinman, Mark Elder, and Conductor Laureate Christopher Seaman. Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik, now in his 28th season, has earned a national reputation for excellence in pops programming during his tenure with the RPO. The RPO reaches more than 15,000 youth through its specific education programs.
About the University of Rochester:
The University of Rochester is one of the nation’s leading private research universities, one of only 62-member institutions in the Association of American Universities. Located in Rochester, N.Y., the University gives undergraduates exceptional opportunities for interdisciplinary study and close collaboration with faculty through its unique cluster-based curriculum. Its College, School of Arts and Sciences, and Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences are complemented by the Eastman School of Music, Simon School of Business, Warner School of Education, Laboratory for Laser Energetics, School of Medicine and Dentistry, School of Nursing, Eastman Institute for Oral Health, and the Memorial Art Gallery.