Saturday, November 5, 2011

Occidental Weekly: Pratt played “some of the most inspired and elevated music ever to grace Occidental College's campus”

[Awadagin Pratt: A Long Way From Normal; EMI Classics 103210 (1994)]

Awadagin Pratt has released two new CDs this year, Johannes Brahms, Works for Cello and Piano on Telarc; and Eternal Evolution, four works of Judith Lang Zaimont on the Navona label. His previous EMI Classics recordings are also being reissued. We present excerpts from a review of a recent performance at Occidental College:

The Occidental Weekly
By Anne Wolfstone
Published:Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, November 2, 2011
“Acts ranging from ensembles to solos, tragic to comedic, unknown to world-renowned have taken to the stage at Occidental College's Thorne Hall. Saturday evening's performance was certainly one act that perhaps lacked the flash of Dance Production or the macabre of a typical pre-Halloween concert. But much to its merit, virtuoso pianist Awadagin Pratt's solo concert on Saturday featured some of the most inspired and elevated music ever to grace Occidental College's campus.

“Pratt, 45, has studied the violin and conducting, but is most famous for his mastery of the piano. Throughout his professional career, he has received numerous awards, such as the Avery Fisher Career Grant, and has performed at the White House as well as internationally. Pratt's international fame drew to Thorne Hall many of Occidental's music students, along with faculty, staff and listeners from the greater L.A. area. The overall attendance number was less than expected, but Pratt rewarded those in attendance with an intimate performance, followed by a meet and greet with the world-class artist.

“To many on campus, and to those not tuned into the world of classical music, Pratt is a relatively unfamiliar name, but within that world, Pratt's is a household name. As stated in the concert program's introduction, 'Among his generation of concert artists, pianist Awadagin Pratt is acclaimed for his musical insight and intensely involving performances in recital with symphony and orchestra.'”

"'In concert, Pratt brought the music off of the page in a way that I have never experienced before. He was extremely focused in the varying parts of each song with intentions that were right on point,' said Music major Kristine Nowlain (senior), who was in attendance on Saturday. When Pratt began his second piece, Franz Liszt's Sonata in B minor, there was a slow crescendo, which ebbed and flowed without pause throughout its four movements, lasting over a half hour. Pratt interspersed his movements with improvisational pieces, something not standard in piano performances of today.”

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