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SFCM Faculty and Alum Take Home Gold at 'Music's Biggest Night'

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February 5, 2024 by Alex Heigl

Congratulations are in order for SFCM faculty member Awadagin Pratt and alum Teddy Abrams, both of whom took home GRAMMY Awards Sunday as part of "music's biggest night."

Pratt, who teaches piano, picked up a statue for Best Contemporary Classical Composition for Montgomery: Rounds, performed with A Far Cry and composed by Jessie Montgomery. The piece was commissioned commissioned by Pratt's Art of the Piano Foundation and written especially for him by Montgomery. 

"Jessie and I played a quintet together when she was with the Catalyst Quartet living her musical life primarily as a violinist," Pratt told the Minnesota Orchestra in 2022. "So we collaborated as chamber musicians. I think that's reflected in the piece, it's more of a collaborative all parts are equal piece than a concerto usually is."

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2005 graduate Abrams, meanwhile, scored for Best Classical Instrumental Solo for The American Project, featuring soloist Yuja Wang. Repped by Opus 3 artists (part of SFCM's family of arts organizations), Abrams' star has been rising steadily in recent years. Musical America, America's oldest classical music magazine, named him "Conductor of the Year" for 2022 for his work as Music Director of the Louisville Orchestra, and in 2023, he was profiled by the New York Times for his work there.

“We expect mayors and university presidents and police chiefs to be in the city,” he told the paper of his involvement in the city. “I think that the conductor of the orchestra should be in that same category of civic leader. Because if they’re not, what does it say to the people of that town?”

“I never thought I’m just going to stay here until a larger orchestra comes along, until I can get a ‘better’ gig,” he added. “That’s not the calling. I was brought here to do something for this place.”

Additionally, Melissa White, who will be performing at SFCM's Chamber Music Tuesdays series on Feb. 6, picked up a GRAMMY for Best Classical Compendium for Passion for Bach and Coltrane, as part of her group The Harlem Quartet. 

Learn more about studying piano or conducting at SFCM.