STILLPOINT

August 25, 2023

On Friday August 25, 2023, the internationally acclaimed pianist Awadagin Pratt, known as “one of the great and distinctive American pianists and conductors of our time” (All Things Considered), and praised for his “enormous dynamic range [that] encompasses grave quiet to immense thunder” (Boston Musical Intelligencer), released his new album, STILLPOINT, via New Amsterdam Records. STILLPOINT is a collection of six newly-commissioned works of profound grace, power, and depth, composed by a group of stylistically diverse composers for piano (Pratt), string orchestra (A Far Cry), and vocal ensemble (Roomful of Teeth).

STILLPOINT is a departure from — and a re-imagining of — Pratt's decades-long artistic journey, as he engages with and questions the long established genre-specific norms of classical music. By uniting T.S. Eliot's prescient poem The Four Quartets with his own pioneering musicianship, and with the creative voices of his chosen composers, Pratt explores, in his words, Eliot’s “expression of a particular kind of tension, an understanding of a duality that can exist in life, the struggle for balance, and an acknowledgement of the inexpressible – that which cannot be tidily communicated” as a pathway to ideas not particular to one’s own experience, but universal to the human condition.

The album is a collaboration between Pratt; the Grammy-winning vocal band, Roomful of Teeth; the democratically run string orchestra, A Far Cry; and a stellar array of composers including Alvin Singleton, Jessie Montgomery, Judd Greenstein, Paola Prestini, Pēteris Vasks, and Tyshawn Sorey.

Pratt’s virtuosic performance and unmistakable pianistic touch weave together the disparate voices of the composers and ensembles throughout STILLPOINT. His masterful musicianship and unique voice cast each piece as a part of the greater whole — uniting the ensembles, composers, and philosophical inquiry into one temporal universe where his piano sits at the center.


Tracklist

  1. Rounds [composed by Jessie Montgomery]
  2. Code [composed by Paola Prestini]
  3. Time Past, Time Future [composed by Alvin Singleton]
  4. Castillo Interior [composed by Pēteris Vasks]
  5. Untitled Composition for Piano and Eight Voices [composed by Tyshawn Sorey]
  6. Still Point [composed by Judd Greenstein]

Album Credits

Executive Producer: Mark Rabideau

Producers: Mark Rabideau, Judd Greenstein, Jesse Lewis

Recording Engineer: Francisco Gonzalez Navarro

Engineering Assistant: Christopher Moretti

Editing Engineers: Christopher Moretti, Shauna Barravecchio

Mixing Engineer: Jesse Lewis

Mastering Engineers: Christopher Moretti, Shauna Barravecchio

Piano: Awadagin Pratt

Composers: Alvin Singleton, Jessie Montgomery, Judd Greenstein, Paola Prestini, Pēteris Vasks, Tyshawn Sorey

Sponsors: ArtsWave Cincinnati, Art of the Piano Foundation, Yamaha

License agreement for use of T.S. Eliot poetry: Faber & Faber Limited

Roomful of Teeth:

Estelí Gomez, Mingjia Chen, Eliza Bagg, Virginia Kelsey, Steven Bradshaw, Avery Griffin, Thann Scoggin, Cameron Beauchamp

A Far Cry:

Violin: Adrian Anantawan, Annie Rabbat, Catherine Cosbey, Jae Cosmos Lee, Jesse Irons, Lilit Hartunian, Megumi Stohs Lewis, Michelle Lie, Miki-Sophia Cloud

Viola: Celia Hatton, Nat Farny, Pedro Mendez, Tanner Menees

Cello: Jeremy Harman, Loewi Lin, Mina Kim

Bass: Lizzie Burns, Randy Zigler

"The fiery runs of glassy piano colliding with upper register strings on Paola Prestini's 'Code' brings a wholly modern intensity to a running soloistic-ensemble dialogue until the voices of Roomful of Teeth enter with full-bodied drama."
"An album designed to be relistened to with Talmudic fervor. Prestini delves into the still point of Eliot and Hale's turning world, one that was- as more than a thousand letters would suggest- full of complexities and contradictory chasms, a love rendered in words representing both the flesh and the fleshless."
"Uncanny ... a rapturous confluence of strings, voices and Pratt's piano ... Pratt has rediscovered the sweet spot he once enjoyed in the recording studio. [STILLPOINT] makes for one endlessly engaging recording. Let's hope we don't have to wait 12 years for the next one."
"Paola Prestini’s Code provided the most dramatic cadenza for the pianist... with trills expanding into double trills in octaves and money-note arpeggios… golden dawn with raindrop glisses… ending where it began in near silence."
"In Code, [Prestini] writes uncanny birdcalls for Roomful of Teeth and rippling passages for Pratt"
"One of the year's most satisfying releases"
"Seething passages and beatific states ... Give the commissioning pianist Awadagin Pratt points for good taste: The half-dozen voices featured on this album all earn their time."
Paola Prestini’s Code is spectral and crystalline...

Album info

Release date:
August 25, 2023

"The fiery runs of glassy piano colliding with upper register strings on Paola Prestini's 'Code' brings a wholly modern intensity to a running soloistic-ensemble dialogue until the voices of Roomful of Teeth enter with full-bodied drama."

Bandcamp

"An album designed to be relistened to with Talmudic fervor. Prestini delves into the still point of Eliot and Hale's turning world, one that was- as more than a thousand letters would suggest- full of complexities and contradictory chasms, a love rendered in words representing both the flesh and the fleshless."

VAN Magazine

"Uncanny ... a rapturous confluence of strings, voices and Pratt's piano ... Pratt has rediscovered the sweet spot he once enjoyed in the recording studio. [STILLPOINT] makes for one endlessly engaging recording. Let's hope we don't have to wait 12 years for the next one."

All Things Considered, NPR

"Paola Prestini’s Code provided the most dramatic cadenza for the pianist... with trills expanding into double trills in octaves and money-note arpeggios… golden dawn with raindrop glisses… ending where it began in near silence."

Boston Musical Intelligencer

"In Code, [Prestini] writes uncanny birdcalls for Roomful of Teeth and rippling passages for Pratt"

National Public Radio

"One of the year's most satisfying releases"

National Public Radio

"Seething passages and beatific states ... Give the commissioning pianist Awadagin Pratt points for good taste: The half-dozen voices featured on this album all earn their time."

The New York Times

Paola Prestini’s Code is spectral and crystalline...

I Care If You Listen

August 25, 2023

STILLPOINT

August 25, 2023

STILLPOINT

https://open.spotify.com/album/6v81LrlkMaByQOPe6xtOAj?si=iM_x0NupRb6pOIhAx2bpUQ

Press Quotes

November 20, 2023
"Paola Prestini’s Code provided the most dramatic cadenza for the pianist... with trills expanding into double trills in octaves and money-note arpeggios… golden dawn with raindrop glisses… ending where it began in near silence."
August 21, 2023
Paola Prestini’s Code is spectral and crystalline...
August 25, 2023
"Uncanny ... a rapturous confluence of strings, voices and Pratt's piano ... Pratt has rediscovered the sweet spot he once enjoyed in the recording studio. [STILLPOINT] makes for one endlessly engaging recording. Let's hope we don't have to wait 12 years for the next one."
September 28, 2023
"Seething passages and beatific states ... Give the commissioning pianist Awadagin Pratt points for good taste: The half-dozen voices featured on this album all earn their time."
December 5, 2023
"In Code, [Prestini] writes uncanny birdcalls for Roomful of Teeth and rippling passages for Pratt"
September 14, 2023
"The fiery runs of glassy piano colliding with upper register strings on Paola Prestini's 'Code' brings a wholly modern intensity to a running soloistic-ensemble dialogue until the voices of Roomful of Teeth enter with full-bodied drama."
August 31, 2023
"An album designed to be relistened to with Talmudic fervor. Prestini delves into the still point of Eliot and Hale's turning world, one that was- as more than a thousand letters would suggest- full of complexities and contradictory chasms, a love rendered in words representing both the flesh and the fleshless."
December 13, 2023
"One of the year's most satisfying releases"