Dafnis Prieto Named MacArthur Fellow

Posted in News on October 6, 2011
Photo: courtesy the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

BMI composer Dafnis Prieto has been named a MacArthur Fellow. The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced 22 new Fellows for 2011, each of whom will receive $500,000 to further fund his or her pursuits.

“I feel a lot of dreams getting closer to com[ing] true, to really materialize a lot of those dreams,” Prieto told NPR, explaining that the award will allow him the “freedom to focus on my own music and my own projects.”

Each year, the MacArthur Fellowship offers no-strings-attached support to between 20 and 30 selected scientists, artists, teachers, entrepreneurs, and others who have exhibited “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.”

The honor is often referred to as the “genius grant,” and one need only examine Prieto’s work for evidence why.

Afro-Cuban grooves and progressive percussion inform Prieto’s acclaimed jazz compositions, which critics praise as revolutionary. After studying at the National School of Music in Havana, the Cuban native emigrated to New York City in 1999, and in addition to touring and recording, he has served as an adjunct instructor in the Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions at New York University since 2005.

For more information on Prieto, other 2011 MacArthur Fellows, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, visit

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