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The Kennedy Center

Artists Featured in Book

Daniel Skandera

Photo of Daniel Skandera

Since taking up the instrument at age 18, Daniel has become an ambitious and devoted marimba player. With a $3000 VSA arts Young Soloist scholarship, Daniel became a student at Georgia State University.

"When I was a little boy, my mom and dad sang to me, and I listened to music on my dad's HiFi. I got my first set of drums in first grade...Mario Lanza was my favorite singer then. Now I like Pavarotti for classical songs...[My mom] was my first music teacher. She taught me to count and to read music...[Now] I teach my audience how to hold and play with two mallets and four mallets. At the end of the program, I answer questions from students and teachers."

When Daniel won the Itzhak Perlman Award, he gave a recital all by himself except for an accompanist. In a hall that seats 400, there was standing room only. Daniel broke the attendence records for a student recital.

Daniel is now putting together what might be the first marimba ensemble led by a person with Down Syndrome. Many of his former instructors and accompanists will be players in Daniel's ensemble.