Pratt plays Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 1

January 14, 1999|By Stephen Wigler

Few American musicians in recent years have captured the popular imagination the way the young American pianist Awadagin Pratt has. Pratt, who became the first African-American classical instrumentalist to win an important international competition when he took first prize in the Naumburg Competition a few seasons back, cuts a striking figure. How many classical pianists have the face of a matinee idol, the body of a prizefighter, wear such unconventional concert garb and have dreadlocks to boot?

But it is Pratt's musical intensity -- which can sometimes transform a concert hall into an active volcano -- that sells out his concerts and puts his records on the classical best seller list.

Pratt returns to Baltimore this week to perform Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Baltimore Symphony and guest conductor Libor Pesek. The program includes the overture to Smetana's "The Bartered Bride" and Dvorak's Symphony No. 8.

All performances (tomorrow and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m.) are in Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, 1212 Cathedral St. Tickets, priced $21-$55, and further information may be obtained by calling 410-783-8000.

Pub Date: 01/14/99

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