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Awadagin Pratt: Piano Virtuoso and Music Education Advocate

Awadagin Pratt is no stranger to performing on the University of South Carolina stages, having appeared at our Southeastern Piano Festival in 2021. The acclaimed and award-winning pianist is not just a favorite of USC, but a national favorite on college and university performing arts series across the country. 

Wherever he goes, Pratt partakes in numerous residency and outreach activities, such as masterclasses, children’s recitals, play/talk demonstrations and Q&A sessions for students of all ages.

Now, Pratt is returning to USC to be featured in several cultural conglomerations around our campus.

Pratt is presenting one of his many powerful works, “Awadagin Pratt: Black in America,” as part of the Luise E. Peake Music & Culture Colloquium Series. “Black in America” is an epic multi-media soliloquy that captures Pratt’s traumatic experiences as a black man in America. 

The presentation opens with a beautiful selection from Bach and closes with the final movement of Olivier Messiaen’s epic work  Quatour pour la fin du Temps. “Black in America” is being offered to School of Music students, but the community is also invited to partake in this stirring experience. It can be live-streamed on the school’s YouTube channel. 

At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless … there the dance is …

– from the first of T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets

Hosted by the Southern Exposure New Music Series, StillPoint: Awadagin Pratt, Piano, features a wide-ranging performance of works big  and small. The works are a fitting choice for the series and its devotion to exploring the rich variety of contemporary classical and world music written in the past 30 years and masterworks of the 20th century. 

StillPoint celebrates major new pieces by American composers Alvin Singleton and Paola Prestini. The project also pays homage to past masterworks, featuring a trio of poetic, subtly related short piano works that span more than 300 years. Members of the USC Symphony Orchestra will accompany Pratt in this wide-ranging performance of works.

Awadagin concludes his time on campus as the featured soloist of the USC Symphony Orchestra. Recognized as one of the leading ensembles in the Southeast, the USC Symphony Orchestra will accompany Pratt as he performs Jessie Montgomery’s new piano concerto, Rounds. This all-American concert also features Copland’s Appalachian Spring and the Symphony No. 1: Living, Breathing Earth, by Columbia’s own Meira Warshauer. 

About the USC School of Music

The University of South Carolina School of Music believes music is an essential component of the human experience. Our mission is to prepare our students to be skilled music leaders to ensure that they advance the quality of life in their communities by helping to make others happier, healthier, more hopeful and more fulfilled through the power of music. We do this not only by advancing musical instruction at the highest level for students' professional preparation, but also by leveraging the actual daily work done by students and faculty in the teaching and learning of music to unlock music’s unlimited potential to improve lives throughout the Midlands and beyond.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.