Danilo Perez Named UNESCO Artist for Peace
Ms. 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.
UNESCO 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.
Grammy 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.
Danilo 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".
In 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.
Born 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.
Danilo 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..
Danilo has earned much acclaim including Grammy © Awards, Jazziz Critics Choice Awards, Boston Music Awards, Jazz Journalists Association Awards.
Perez' 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.