Danilo Perez Named UNESCO Artist for Peace
Irina Bokova, Director General of the The United Nations Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has designated jazz
musician, Mr Danilo Pérez as a UNESCO Artist for Peace.
Artists for Peace are internationally-renowned personalities who use
their influence, charisma and prestige to help promote UNESCO’s message
and programmes. UNESCO works with these distinguished personalities in
order to heighten public awareness regarding key development issues and
to inform the public what our Organization’s action is in these fields.
award winner Danilo Pérez has established himself as one of the most
preeminent musicians of his generation. His distinctive blend of
Pan-American jazz (covering the music of the Americas, folkloric and
world music) has attracted critical acclaim and loyal audiences all over
the world. Today, he was named “Artist for Peace” by UNESCO and will be
celebrated in a ceremony in Paris on November 20, 2012.
performs with his own bands, most recently the Danilo Perez Trio, which
garnered a Grammy © nomination in 2011 for Best Instrumental Jazz
Album. For the past twelve years, he has held the piano chair in the
Wayne Shorter Quartet, a band named by journalists, musicians and fans
as the “Best Jazz Band on the Planet”.
addition to his performing career, Perez directs the Berklee Global
Jazz Institute at Berklee College of Music (Boston, MA), where he
developed an innovative educational curriculum based on the concept he
refers to as inter-connective learning. This concept allows students to
experience and practice the idea of social change through music. He also
presides over the Danilo Perez Foundation in his native country of
Panama. The Foundation provides outreach music programs to children of
extreme poverty in the Republic of Panama. Danilo also serves as the
Artistic Director for the Panama Jazz Festival, which in addition to
showcasing world class talent, the Festival also serves as the world’s
largest center for auditions, admissions and scholarships for Latin
American music students and professionals.
in Panama, Danilo started his musical studies at just three years of
age with his father, a bandleader and singer. By age 10, he was studying
the European classical piano repertoire at the National Conservatory in
Panama. At age 12 he started working as a professional musician in
salsa bands and composing and arranging for Latin American singers.
first attracted the spotlight as the youngest member of Dizzy
Gillespie’s United Nations Orchestra in 1989. Since the late ‘80s, he
has toured and/or recorded with jazz masters Wayne Shorter, Steve Lacy,
Jack DeJohnette, Jon Hendricks, Tito Puente, Paquito D’Rivera ,Wynton
Marsalis, Gary Burton, Roy Haynes, among many others. Perez is also a
prolific composer and he has been commissioned by Carnegie Hall, Lincoln
Center, Chicago Jazz Festival and others..
has earned much acclaim including Grammy © Awards, Jazziz Critics
Choice Awards, Boston Music Awards, Jazz Journalists Association Awards.
philanthropic work started in the early 1980’s when he taught Latin
American musicians, created festivals, outreach music programs, and
helped open jazz departments in Latin American universities. He later
served as Cultural Ambassador for the Republic of Panama, Goodwill
Ambassador to UNICEF, where he started his work in the eradication of
extreme poverty through outreach music programs in Panama City, Panama.
He has received numerous awards for his social work in Panama as well as
internationally, including the Orden Vasco Nuñez de Balboa, Key to the
City of Panama, the Smithsonian Legacy Award, ASICOM International
Award, The Most Influential Latinos of the Delaware Valley.