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Commonly Referred to as a 'Genius Grant,' the Award is Bestowed to Individuals Who Exhibit 'Extraordinary Originality'

Dafnis Prieto

Yamaha Drum Artist, Dafnis Prieto received a coveted MacArthur Fellowship, awarded to “talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction.”

“This award . . . is very helpful and will somehow speed up a lot of possibilities in my career and my work,” he said. “I feel very honored and happy about it.”

Along with 21 other recipients announced this year, he will receive $500,000 over the next five years. According to the foundation, there are three criteria for selection of Fellows: “exceptional creativity, promise for important future advances based on a track record of significant accomplishment, and potential for the fellowship to facilitate subsequent creative work.”

Prieto plays a Maple Custom Absolute series drum set in Vintage finish. . "Yamaha drums are great!” he said. “They give me what I need–a big variety of sounds, textures and color in only one set of drums. Also with the flexibility of the hardware, I am consistently able to get the most comfortable positioning for the whole drum set. It always feels like playing at home."

Born in Santa Clara, Cuba, drummer/composer/band leader Dafnis Prieto began his career with the bands of Cuban stars Carlos Maza and Ramon Valle. Since arriving in New York in 1999, he has worked with many major jazz artists, including Steve Coleman, Henry Threadgill, Andrew Hill, Eddie Palmieri, Roy Hargrove, Don Byron and Michel Camilo.

About Yamaha

Yamaha Corporation of America is the largest subsidiary of Yamaha Corporation, Japan and offers a full line of musical instruments and sound reinforcement products to the U.S. market. Products include: acoustic and digital pianos, portable keyboards, guitars, acoustic and electronic drums, band and orchestral instruments, marching percussion products, synthesizers, professional digital and analog audio products, and innovative technology products targeted to the hobbyist, education, worship, professional music, and installation markets.