From Cuba, Dafnis Prieto's revolutionary drumming techniques and compositions have had a powerful impact on the Latin and Jazz music scene, nationally and internationally.
Various awards include a 2011 MacArthur Fellowship Award; a GRAMMY Award and a Latin GRAMMY Award nomination for Best Latin Jazz Album for Dafnis Prieto Big Band Back to the Sunset in 2018; a GRAMMY Award nomination for Best Latin Jazz Album for Dafnis Prieto Sextet Transparency in 2021; a GRAMMY Award nomination for Best Latin Jazz Album for Absolute Quintet, and a Latin GRAMMY nomination for "Best New Artist,” in 2007; and "Up & Coming Musician of the Year" by the Jazz Journalists Association in 2006. Also a gifted educator, Prieto has conducted numerous master classes, clinics, and workshops throughout the world. He was a faculty member of Jazz Studies at NYU from 2005 to 2014, and in 2015 became a faculty member of Frost School of Music at UM (University of Miami).
As a composer, Prieto has created music for dance, film, chamber ensembles, and most notably for his own bands ranging from duets to big bands, including the distinctively different groups featured by nine acclaimed recordings as a leader: About The Monks, Absolute Quintet, Taking The Soul For a Walk, Si o Si Quartet-Live at Jazz Standard, Dafnis Prieto Proverb Trio, Triangles and Circles, Back to the Sunset, Transparency, and Cantar. In 2022 Prieto premiered a new work for Latin band and string orchestra — Tentación — performed by People of Earth with the Louisville Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the New World Symphony, and the Britt Festival Orchestra. He has received new works commissions, grants, and fellowships from Chamber Music America; Princeton University; Jazz at Lincoln Center; Museum of Modern Art; Whitney Museum; National Association of Latino Arts & Cultures; Jerome Foundation; East Carolina University; Painted Bride Art Center; Meet the Composer; WNYC; the Louisville Orchestra, the Britt Festival Orchestra, New Music USA, Hazard Productions, and People of Earth; and the Metropole Orkest.
Prieto has performed at many national and international music festivals as a bandleader presenting his own projects and music. Since his arrival to New York in 1999, Prieto has also worked in bands led by Michel Camilo, Chucho Valdés, Bebo Valdés, Henry Threadgill, Steve Coleman, Eddie Palmieri, Chico and Arturo O'Farrill, Dave Samuels & The Caribbean Jazz Project, Jane Bunnett, D.D. Jackson, Edward Simon, Roy Hargrove, Don Byron, and Andrew Hill, among others.
In 2016 Prieto published the groundbreaking analytical and instructional drum book, A World of Rhythmic Possibilities. In 2020 he published Rhythmic Synchronicity, a book for non-drummers inspired by a course of the same name that Prieto developed at the Frost School of Music.
Prieto is the founder of the independent music company Dafnison Music. He endorses: Yamaha Drums, Sabian Cymbals, Latin Percussion, Evans Drumheads, and Vic Firth Sticks.
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