2019 Prize Winner: Victor Furtado
Contemporary clawhammer banjoist Victor Furtado is the 2019 recipient of the 10th annual Steve Martin Banjo Prize. At 19, Victor is the youngest recipient of this honor which highlights exceptional banjo performers in modern music.
Victor has won many competitions including the Grand Prize at the 2015 Clifftop Banjo Contest, the Galax Old Time Fiddlers Convention, and the international FreshGrass competition in 2016. He has three albums under his belt, the first being the self-titled Victor Furtado in 2014, The Patuxent Banjo Project in 2014, and the most recent,
Dellorto Island, released in 2018.
He is the youngest of 9 home-schooled kids, 7 of whom are professional musicians. He was taught music using the Suzuki method of instruction which relies heavily on the students listening intensively to the pieces which they will be mastering. While he never had ongoing formal training, he was continually surrounded by classical, bluegrass, and old-time music.
At age 9, he announced that he wanted to learn the banjo. He had access to a DVD by Lynn Morris, and quickly learned “Boil Them Cabbage Down.” Within 2 years, he had appeared on “Woodsongs” radio show, and the following year, when he was 12, he received an invitation on the Grand Ole Opry to appear with Mike Snider and his band.