Ross Pratt

Ross (Drury) Pratt. Pianist, teacher, b Winnipeg 20 Apr 1916; honorary ARAM ca 1950, honorary FRAM 1959. He studied as a child with Esther Dyson and in his teens with Leonard Heaton, winning the Aikins Memorial Trophy at the 1931 Manitoba Music Competition Festival (Winnipeg Music Competition).

Pratt, Ross

Ross (Drury) Pratt. Pianist, teacher, b Winnipeg 20 Apr 1916; honorary ARAM ca 1950, honorary FRAM 1959. He studied as a child with Esther Dyson and in his teens with Leonard Heaton, winning the Aikins Memorial Trophy at the 1931 Manitoba Music Competition Festival (Winnipeg Music Competition). Awarded a scholarship to the RAM, London, he studied 1934-9 with Harold Craxton and in 1939 made his London recital debut at Wigmore Hall and was soloist with the BBC SO under Sir Henry Wood. On his return to Canada Pratt settled in Montreal, giving recitals and appearing with orchestras throughout North America. His New York debut 1 Nov 1941 at Town Hall 'established [him] as one of the most gifted of the younger generation of keyboard artists' (Noel Strauss, New York Times) and was the prelude to an extended tour of Canada, the USA, and Mexico. He also played for CBC and NBC broadcasts and gave sonata recitals with the violinists Noël Brunet and Arthur LeBlanc.

At the end of World War II Pratt played for the British armed forces in the Far East and then toured Australia. In 1949 he returned to London, teaching 1949-53 and 1960-6 at the RAM and appearing as a concerto soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician in Britain, continental Europe, Mexico, and Iceland. He was the pianist 1957-64 in the Robert Masters Quartet.

Pratt continued to make frequent appearances in Canada (eg, as soloist in Rachmaninoff's Concerto No. 3 in 1949 and Brahms' Concerto No. 2 with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra in 1955 and in the Canadian premiere of Benjamin Lees' Concerto in 1957 with the CBC Symphony Orchestra) and, while on leave 1965-6 from the RAM, was a visiting teacher at the University of Alberta. Subsequently he taught 1967-73 at the CMQ, became director of chamber music at CAMMAC in 1969, began lecturing on keyboard literature at Carleton University in 1970, and gave lecture-recitals on Mozart, Liszt, Debussy, and 20th-century composers in several Canadian cities. He was a member 1968-71 of the Trio de Québec with Liliane Garnier-Lesage (violin) and Traugott Schmöhe (cello).

Pratt's repertoire has included Arnell's Concerto No. 1 (of which he gave the British premiere), Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini (Canadian premiere with the Montreal Orchestra 18 Feb 1940), Milhaud's Second Piano Concerto, 10 of the Mozart concertos, both Ravel concertos, and many others. His programs have included solo pieces by Violet Archer, Jean Coulthard, Robert Fleming, Oskar Morawetz, Jean Papineau-Couture, Barbara Pentland, and John Weinzweig, in addition to a wide range of music drawn from the 18th- and 19th-century piano literature.

Writings

'Opportunities for musicians in Canada,' MT, vol 97, Nov 1956

'Chopin in Britain,' CMJ, vol 5, Autumn 1960