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GREENSBORO, N.C. –  Every parent whose child shows a modicum of talent thinks he or she is a prodigy. But only in the rarest of occasions does a child meet the true definition of that word. Awadagin Pratt was one of those one-in-a-million kids who comes along perhaps once a generation. The Eastern Music Festival will feature Awadagin Pratt at 8 p.m. Wed., July 11

Eastern Music Festival will feature Awadagin Pratt at 8 p.m. Wed., July 11 at Guilford College’s Dana Auditorium. Pratt, who is a favorite of EMF’s audiences and students, will perform works by Brahms, Beethoven, Auerbach and Franck.

The Pittsburgh native and Cincinnati resident began studying piano at age 6 and violin at 9, being accepted at the University of Illinois before his 16th birthday. He went on to study at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University, becoming the first student in the school’s history to receive degrees in three performance areas: piano, violin and conducting. Subsequently, he was recognized for his work in classical music by receiving the Distinguished Alumni Award from Johns Hopkins.

In 1992, at age 26, Pratt won the prestigious Naumberg International Piano Competition and two years later was awarded the Avery Fisher Career Grant. He made his Lincoln Center debut that same year, launching a career that has taken him around the world, playing with the world’s most distinguished symphonies.

But at heart, Pratt is a teacher, devoting much of his schedule to helping hone the skills of the next generation of musicians. A favorite on college and university performing arts series, he regularly conducts master classes, children’s recitals, demonstrations and Q&A sessions, and which is part of his enormous appeal to EMF’s piano program. As a result, he was named one of the 50 Leaders of Tomorrow in Ebony magazine’s 50 th anniversary edition.

Many non-classical fans are also familiar with Pratt as a result of feature stories in Newsweek and People and profiles on the Today Show, Good Morning America, Sesame Street and CBS’s Sunday Morning . He also performed twice at the Clinton White House.

When Awadagin Pratt performs solo piano recital on Wednesday at EMF, don’t be surprised if he shuns the traditional tuxedo in favor of, oh, perhaps a green and lavender checkered shirt and socks with a portrait of Van Gogh.

Prodigies can get away with that.

Tickets are available at EMF’s Box Office through Triad Stage at 336-272-0160.

About Eastern Music Festival (EMF) Eastern Music Festival is an outstanding educational experience for talented, dedicated, young artists between the ages of 14 and 23. The faculty musicians are teaching artists of the highest order – and the annual student population of 220+ is extraordinary. This season, Eastern Music Festival celebrates 57 years of providing unmatched educational experiences and great performances. The Festival continues through July 28.

For more information, please call (336) 333-7450 or visit www.easternmusicfestival.org .

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