Among his generation of concert artists, pianist Awadagin Pratt is acclaimed for his musical insight and intensely involving performances in recital and with symphony orchestras.
Pratt entered the University of Illinois at age 16, studying piano, violin and conducting. He subsequently enrolled at the Peabody Conservatory of Music, where he became the first student in the school’s history to receive diplomas in three performance areas—piano, violin and conducting. Pratt received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Johns Hopkins and an honorary doctorate from Illinois Wesleyan University.
Winner of the 1992 Naumburg International Piano Competition he also was the recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant. Since then, he has played numerous recitals and appeared with orchestras throughout the U.S. Internationally, Pratt has toured Japan four times and performed in Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Poland, Israel, Columbia and South Africa. An experienced conductor, Pratt has conducted programs with symphonies throughout the U.S. and several orchestras in Japan.
He is professor of piano and artist-in-residence at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Pratt serves on the faculty of the Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro, North Carolina. He also served as the artistic director of the World Piano Competition and is the artistic director of the Art of the Piano Festival at CCM.
A favorite on college and university performing arts series and a strong advocate of music education, Pratt participates in numerous residency and outreach activities wherever he appears, including master classes, children’s recitals, play/talk demonstrations and question/answer sessions for students of all ages. Pratt is also frequently invited to participate on international competition juries.
Known for their fusion of classical, jazz and gospel programming, the McCain Duo—Artina and Martin—present concerts with a surprising depth of emotional contrasts. Audiences describe their performances as “breathtaking, awe-inspiring, and invigorating.” Their marriage and musical collaboration create an intimate range of tone colors and imaginative storytelling.The McCain Duo are champions of building personal connections with composers to create a larger repertoire. Their award-winning albums Shades and Trombone Czar: The Extended Version feature commissioned works and were each honored with two Global Music Awards.
The duo has performed throughout Asia: at Mahidol University (Thailand), The University of Toronto (Canada) and Radio Television Hong Kong. Highlights in the U.S. include performances at the Gateways Music Festival (NY), the American Trombone Workshop (VA), and The Great American Brass Band Festival (KY). Their concerts and recordings have been broadcast on NPR’s Performance Today, CKWR Toronto, and KMFA Classical Austin.
In addition to their performing careers, the McCain Duo has created online professional development programming for emerging artists. They host a weekly social media video series “Elevate with the McCain Duo” covering topics ranging from personal goal setting to auditions and expanded career options for musicians. They have presented clinics on arts entrepreneurship at Indiana University, Ithaca College and at numerous performing arts high schools.
Artina McCain is Assistant Professor of Music and Coordinator of Piano Studies at the University of Memphis. Martin McCain is Artist/Teacher of Trombone and Professor of Music at Texas State University. Together, the McCains serve on the faculties of the Austin Chamber Music Festival and the PRIZM Ensemble International Chamber Music Festival. For more information visit https://mccainduo.com/
William Chapman Nyaho and pianist Susanna Garcia create fascinating programs that not only entertain but educate diverse audiences.
Meeting at the University of Texas at Austin, Garcia and Nyaho became friends in the 1980s. Their musical partnership, however, began in 1990, while both were teaching at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Their mutual respect embodies both artistic music making and a desire to enrich and expand audiences of two-piano music. Performing throughout the United States, Europe and Africa, their synergistic duo has been described as possessing “one head, one heart, but four hands.”
Well-known to the MTNA membership, Nyaho is of Ghanaian-American descent. He has given numerous presentations highlighting the works of composers of African heritage. Enthusiastically attended and universally praised, Nyaho’s offerings are energetic, positive and entertaining, gently nudging listeners to explore composers’ works that should live on in the musical canon. Nyaho compiled and edited the critically acclaimed five-volume graded anthology Piano Music of Africa and the African Diaspora, published by Oxford University Press. The volumes contain extraordinary music, some familiar, most not.
Susanna Garcia is a South Texas native who has performed in concert across the United States, Canada, Ghana and Europe. With the backing of the Mexican government’s cultural enrichment program, she traveled the country, playing recitals and giving workshops. Garcia is professor of music at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where she has taught since 1990. Garcia holds the Louisiana Board of Regents/Ruth Stodghill Girard Endowed Professorship in Music and in 2001 was named a University of Louisiana Distinguished Professor. Garcia is the co-developer of eNovativePiano: Multimedia Resources for Developing Musicianship Skills.