October 21, 2019

Southern Illinois Symphony performance will feature acclaimed pianist Awadagin Pratt

by Jason Franchuk

CARBONDALE, Ill. — The Southern Illinois Symphony Orchestra’s season at Shryock Auditorium continues on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., with the combined orchestras of SIU Carbondale and SIU Edwardsville and a world-renowned piano soloist.

The concert features Normal, Illinois native and African-American pianist, Awadagin Pratt. A graduate of the Peabody Conservatory, Mr. Pratt won the prestigious Naumberg International Piano Competition in 1992, has performed with major orchestras around the world, including the New York Philharmonic and St. Louis Symphony. He has also performed at the White House following invitations from former Presidents Clinton and Obama.

Working together

The combined orchestras will perform Gustav Mahler’s monumental First Symphony, the “Titan,” and include an ensemble of nearly 100 musicians. To open the concert, Pratt will perform Edvard Grieg’s popular Piano Concerto with the combined Southern Illinois orchestras.

“This is the 5th collaboration between the two symphony orchestras of the SIU system, going back to 2011, with performances on both campuses,” Music Director and Maestro Edward Benyas said. “My SIUE colleague, Michael Mishra, will conduct the tuneful and exciting Mahler Symphony. I am looking forward to leading the combined orchestras in accompanying the great pianist, Awadagin Pratt, in Grieg’s very romantic piano concerto.”

Tickets available

To purchase tickets in advance, go in person to the SIU Arena or McLeod Theater box offices, call 618/453-2000 or go online to the Saluki Ticket Office. Tickets are also available at the Shryock Auditorium box office beginning one hour before the symphony concert. For questions about the concert, please email Maestro Benyas at benyas@siu.edu.

General admission tickets for the Southern Illinois Symphony are $20 and $8 for students of any age.

Special treat for students

Pratt will also present a master class for SIU piano students on Tuesday at 11:45am in Shryock Auditorium that is free and open to the public.

The Office of the SIU President is sponsoring the concert of the combined orchestras. Pratt’s appearance is sponsored by the SIUE Arts and Issues series.