This preview has been provided by the Eastern Music Festival.

EMF’s talented student orchestra is joined by guest conductor Manuel Laureano and guest artist Awadagin Pratt, piano, as he performs Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin. Other pieces will include Elgar’s Enigma Variations, op.36 and Falla’s Suite No. 1 from El sombrero de tres picos.

Guest Conductor

Manny Laureano has served as Co-Artistic Director of the Minnesota Youth Symphonies since 1988, conducts the MYS Symphony Orchestra, and is the brass and woodwind coach for the MYS Repertory Orchestra. Manny has worked with a variety of ensembles, ranging from having been Music Director of the Calhoun-Isles Community Band, Music Director of the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra for 9 years, to several guest conducting appearances with the Minnesota Orchestra including serving as Assistant Conductor during the 2005-06 season.

Most recently, Manny has guest conducted the St. Olaf College Orchestra, and has been a frequent guest conductor at Indiana University’s Jacob’s School of Music. He has conducted the Viva City Orchestra through the Minneapolis School District for several years, was selected to conduct the 2009 Minnesota All-State Orchestra, and is in demand as a clinician for young orchestras throughout the state of Minnesota. Manny was invited to guest-conduct the National Suzuki Youth Orchestra Festival Orchestra and were invited to serve again in 2004.

Guest Artist

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. In 1992 Mr. Pratt won the Naumburg International Piano Competition and two years later was awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant. He has played numerous recitals throughout the US including performances at Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles and Chicago’s Orchestra Hall. His many orchestral performances include appearances with the New York Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra and the Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Baltimore, St. Louis, National, Detroit and New Jersey symphonies among many others. Mr. Pratt is currently an Associate Professor of Piano and Artist in Residence at the College Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati.

The Eastern Music Festival’s mission is to promote musical enrichment, excellence, professional collaboration, innovation, and diversity through a nationally-recognized teaching program, music festival, concerts, and other programs which will enhance the quality of life, health, and vitality of our region. The Eastern Music Festival and School, founded in 1961 in Greensboro, North Carolina by Sheldon Morgenstern, is an internationally-renowned classical music festival and institute for young musicians that runs for five weeks each summer. The institute accepts students ages 14 through 22 from around the country and the world. The EMF faculty consists of world-class performing artists selected from top orchestras and music schools nationally and internationally.  Led by music director Gerard Schwarz, the Eastern Music Festival and School celebrates its 51st season in 2012.