The shakeup followed a board meeting on Wednesday, and caught the competition's partners, CCM and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, completely off guard. In a statement, they said they became aware of Pratt's separation as artistic director for the competition "after the fact" and that the partners "were not party to this decision."
"We remain supportive of Mr. Pratt's artistic leadership and what he has brought to the competition, as well as the CWPC and its mission. We are carefully assessing the situation and determining how best to proceed," said their statement released on Friday.
CCM dean Landgren reportedly has asked the competition's board to reconsider the decision on behalf of both CCM and the orchestra.
Reached on Thursday, Ernster, a Procter & Gamble retiree, did not give a reason for the dismissal. On Friday, the piano competition released a statement praising Pratt for his many contributions, which included revamping the once-storied competition and bringing it up to current competition standards as its chief architect.
Dominique-René de Lerma