US piano competition fires artistic director. Three weeks later, he’s back

US piano competition fires artistic director. Three weeks later, he’s back


norman lebrecht

July 29, 2015

We reported the dismissal of Awadagin Pratt as artistic director of the Cincinnati World Piano Competition on July 8.

Guess what? He was reinstated today.


The managing director who sacked him has quietly ‘resigned’.

Janelle Gelfand has the full story here. At least, the visible parts of it.


  • James of Thames says:

    N. B. the proper spelling of Cincinnati. It’s in the article.

  • CDH says:

    I often despair of American incapacity to get British things right — they are dead useless on titles, for instance. But as a transatlantic, it drives me mad when I am in Britain to find that it seems impossible for Brits to correctly pronounce Houston (which is NOT “HOOS-ton” but more like “Hugh-sston”) or Chicago — middle syllable rhymes with “jaw,” not “gag.” And among their many spelling blind spots is Cincinnati. Given that it is named after Cincinnatus, you would think they could do better…


    • Greg Hlatky says:

      And just try them on the proper pronunciation of Versailles or Milan (in Indiana) or Cairo, Illinois!

      • CDH says:

        Now which “them” are you talking about? I can only guess to which abuses Americans have put those simple syllables. Americans and French…Dan Rather used to pronounce “en route” as if it were “N rowt.” I can only imagine what they have done with other “furrin” names.

    • Theodore McGuiver says:

      …but don’t you say South HOOSton for the NYC neighbourhood? That might account for some of the misunderstanding concerning the Texan version.

      • Stephen Owades says:

        The street in lower Manhattan is traditionally pronounced “house-ton.”

      • CDH says:

        To be fair I think the misconception is because of place names in Britain, of which the only one I can think of off the top of my head is Bellahouston in Scotland, which is pronounce “Hoose-ton.”

        There is no explanation for the normal British pronunciation of Chicago as “Chick-ah-go.”

        On the other hand, I once corrected an English actor over his pronunciation of the TV programme “Dynasty.” My argument for the American pronunciation — the word was never used in the show as far as I know, but coverage all used the “Dine” first syllable — because it was a proper name was a simple, and unanswerable, comment that ” we have been at this sort of thing rather longer.”

        Two nations, divided by a common language.

    • Stephen Owades says:

      You’ll find disagreement within the Chicago area on that pronunciation, too. First syllable sometimes “shick,” sometimes “chick.” Second syllable sometimes has an Italianate “ah,” other times a broad “hat”-like vowel. No surprise that foreigners can’t decide either.