Danilo Perez
Pianist & Composer
This award was generously supported by
the Barr Foundation.


Danilo Pérez is a Grammy Award-winning pianist, composer, educator, and a leading exponent of Global Jazz. His music is a blend of Panamanian roots with elements of Latin American folk music, jazz, European impressionism, African, and other musical heritages that promote music as a multi-dimensional bridge between people. He has released 11 albums, which have earned him critical acclaim, multiple Grammy nominations, and numerous awards.

As a composer, Pérez was awarded commissions from Carnegie Hall, the Banff Centre, the Chicago and Detroit Jazz Festivals, Imani Winds, Lincoln Center, Toronto 2015 Pan Am games, and the Museum of Biodiversity in Panama. He has collaborated with Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente, Wynton Marsalis, Lizz Wright, Steve Lacy, and Jack Dejohnette. In 2000, Pérez joined Wayne Shorter to form Shorter’s great quartet along with John Patitucci and Brian Blade. In 2016, he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Panama. Currently, he serves as Cultural Ambassador to the Republic of Panama and a UNESCO Artist for Peace. Pérez is the founder and artistic director of both the Panama Jazz Festival and the Berklee Global Jazz Institute, and is a Yamaha Artist.
Photo by John Abbott.

  • Photo by Carlos Agrazal.
  • Photo by Bill Bytsura.
Children of the Light, 2015.
Panama 500, 2014.
Providencia, 2010.