Michael Pratt joined the Princeton faculty in 1977. Over the past 30 seasons, he has helped to engineer a major expansion of performance activities at Princeton, and currently serves as the Director of the Program in Musical Performance. Pratt also co-directs both the Composers' Ensemble and Richardson Chamber Players, and teaches several performance courses. He has led Princeton performances of some of the most demanding works in the repertory, including symphonies of Mahler and Stravinsky's Le Sacre du Printemps. Other highlights from his Princeton tenure include the United States stage premiere of the original 1805 version of Beethoven's Fidelio, which was subsequently invited to appear at Lincoln Center, and performances of Weber's Der Freischütz and Wagner's Tristan und Isolde , the latter in a concert version. He has conducted numerous new works at Princeton, including music by faculty composers Paul Lansky, Steve Mackey, Barbara White, Dan Trueman, Peter Westergaard and Milton Babbitt. In recent years he has turned to operas of the early Baroque, leading performances of works of Cavalli and Monteverdi.
Under Pratt, the Princeton University Orchestra has also collaborated with the Princeton Shakespeare Company and the Program in Theater and Dance for productions, respectively, of A Midsummer Night's Dream with Mendelssohn's incidental music, Prokofiev's ballet Le Pas D'Acier, and the world premiere of the Pushkin/Prokofiev Boris Godunov. Pratt and the Orchestra also presented Homer and Beethoven:The Heroic Moment in collaboration with the late Professor Robert Fagles. The Orchestra has toured the U.S., Great Britain, Spain, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.
Pratt is Co-founder and was Music Director of the Opera Festival of New Jersey from 1984 to 1995. With the Opera Festival, he conducted eighteen new productions of works ranging in style from Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro to Verdi's Falstaff to the world premiere of Peter Westergaard's The Tempest. Pratt also holds the position of Music Director of the Delaware Valley Philharmonic, having led that ensemble since 1990. He has also appeared as a guest conductor with some of the leading ensembles in the United States, including the Concerto Soloists of Philadelphia, the Boston Symphony Chamber Players, the orchestras of Detroit, Rochester, Atlanta, Long Island, and Indianapolis, the Aspen Music Festival, and Opera Delaware. From 1985 to 1990 he also served as Associate Conductor of the New Jersey Symphony. Pratt was educated at the Eastman School and Tanglewood, and his teachers include Gustav Meier, Gunther Schuller, and Otto Werner Mueller. He lives in Skillman with his wife Martha, a member of Princeton's voice faculty.