Jorge Luis Prats (Cuba)
“A Cuban marvel: Jorge Luis Prats: the best pianist you haven’t heard of, this master pianist is unlike any other” BBC Music Magazine
Since May 2007, when Jorge Luis Prats gave his first recital at the Miami International Piano Festival, his career has undergone a dramatic ascent. His debut recitals at the prestigious “Meister Pianisten” series at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam having been received with standing ovations, in 2010 he returned to the same series for the third time, an honor uniquely reserved for Brendel and Sokolov previously.
Prats is simply extraordinary, not only because of his extraordinary life story, but because of his extraordinary gifts. The piano is merely the tool he uses to create music. The music he creates is stunning — it enthralls and amazes, while simultaneously stimulating the mind.
His entire life fits inside a piano. From one end to the other of the keyboard, this Cuban knows how to do things like no one else, or perhaps like many others whom he has added to his sensibility. This may look like a paradox, but it isn’t. Since its beginnings, Cuba has woven a history rich in supreme artists in that instrument, like Nicolas Ruiz Espadero, Ignacio Cervantes, Ernesto Lecuona, Jorge Bolet and, in Jazz, Chucho Valdes. That’s why Prats rises above them as a guide to continuity in such a respectable exercise.
Prats is a player who digs deep to uncover the humanity within the music he plays, his life experiences color his performances.
Forty-two years ago, he overcame serious geopolitical obstacles and traveled to Paris where he won the Grand Prix at the Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud competition. The result was overnight stardom. His achievement made all the papers and a shining career lay before him. He remained abroad, studying with renowned teachers in Paris and Moscow and Vienna, then decided to return to Cuba to be with family.
He was stuck. Visa restrictions made it impossible for Prats to develop his concert career. He played regularly for Cuban audiences but could not travel. There were complicated reasons for his domestication having to do with family obligations and political challenges. Finally, he managed to get out of Cuba and begin the process of re-introducing himself to international audiences.
In May 2010 Jorge Luis replaced Nelson Freire at his Salle Pleyel recital, to a tremendously enthusiastic response from the public and in September of the same year he again triumphed at the festival “Piano aux Jacobins” in Toulouse. Following these successes, he has been invited by the organizers of several prestigious French series to perform in Autumn 2011 at the Grand Interpretes in Lyon, at the Grand Theatre de Aix en Provence, a re-invitation from the Piano 4 Etoiles series at Salle Pleyel and to perform Rachmaninov with the Orchestre de Paris under Paavo Järvi.
Regularly invited as professor by the respected institutions such as National University of Columbia in Bogota, National School of the Arts in Havana, the Arts Centre in Mexico, the Conservatory of Cordoba in Spain and Royal Conservatory in Toronto, he was also the Artistic Director of National Orchestra of Cuba from 1985 to 2002.
Jorge Luis Prats was born in Camaguey in Cuba in 1956, studying with Cesar Perez Sentenar, Barbara Diaz Alea, Margot Rojas and Alfredo Diez at National School of Arts. On graduation, he was awarded a scholarship to the Tchaikovsky Conservatory of Moscow where he studied with Rudolf Kerer and he continued his studies at Conservatoire de Paris and later at the Hochschüle für Müsik und Künstler in Vienna with Paul Badura Skoda and Magda Tagliaferro. At 21 years old, Jorge Luis won the first prize at the prestigious Concours Marguerite Long – Jacques Thibaud in Paris as well as the special award of best interpretation of works by Ravel and Jolivet.
Jorge Luis Prats discography includes the first recording ever of Scriabin’s 24 Preludes, concerti by Beethoven, Grieg, Rachmaninov and Chopin as well as works by Cuban composers. His concert at Broward Center for the Performing Arts for the Miami’s International Piano Festival was recorded and released as DVD by VAI.
Jorge Luis signed an exclusive recording contract with Decca and his first recording with them was Granados by Goyescas, released in June 2011.
Mr. Prats is represented in the US by Patrons of Exceptional Artists.