The 2019-2020 season marks 42 years since Michael Pratt came to
Princeton to conduct the Princeton University Orchestra — a
relationship that has resulted in the ensemble’s reputation as one of
the finest university orchestras in the United States.
He is credited by his colleagues and generations of students in
being the architect of one of the finest music programs in the
country, Princeton’s certificate Program in Music Performance,
Pratt has served as its director since its inception in 1991. The
international reputation the Program has earned has resulted in
Princeton’s becoming a major destination for talented and
academically gifted students. Pratt also established a partnership
between Princeton and the Royal College of Music that every year
sends Princeton students to study in London. He is also co-founder
of the Richardson Chamber Players, which affords opportunities
for tops students to perform with the performance faculty in
chamber music concerts.
Over the years, Pratt has guided many generations of Princeton
students through a remarkable variety of orchestral and operatic
literature, from early Baroque Italian opera through symphonies of
Mahler to the latest compositions by students and faculty. He has
led the Princeton University Orchestra on eleven European tours.
Under Pratt the PU Orchestra has also participated in major
campus collaborations with the Theater and Dance programs in
such works as the premieres of Prokofiev’s Le Pas d’Acier and
Boris Godunov, a revival of Richard Strauss’s setting of the
Molière classic, Le Bourgeois gentilhomme, and a full production
of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with all of Mendelssohn’s
Pratt was educated at the Eastman School of Music and
Tanglewood, and his teachers and mentors have included Gunther
Schuller, Gustav Meier, and Otto Werner Mueller.
In March 2018 Michael Pratt was awarded an honorary
membership to the Royal College of Music, London (HonRCM) by
HRH The Prince of Wales. At Commencement 2019 he was
awarded the President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching by
President Christopher Eisgruber.