Danilo Pérez ’88, Artistic Director

The Grammy Award–winning pianist and composer Danilo Pérez is among the most influential and dynamic musicians of our time. In just over a decade, his distinctive blend of Pan-American jazz, covering the music of the Americas, folkloric, and world music, has attracted critical acclaim and loyal audiences. Whether leading his own ensembles or touring with renowned jazz masters (Wayne Shorter, Roy Haynes, Steve Lacy), Pérez is making a decidedly fresh imprint on contemporary music, guided, as always, by his love for jazz. Born in Panama in 1965, Pérez went to Berklee in the 1980s and has led his own groups since the early 1990s. As a bandleader, he has earned three Grammy nominations for his ebullient and innovative recordings. Pérez serves as a UNESCO Artist For Peace, artistic director of the Berklee Global Jazz Institute, and artistic director of the Panama Jazz Festival. In previous years, he served as Goodwill Ambassador to UNICEF and cultural ambassador to the Republic of Panama. He has worked as a music educator for more than 20 years.

Marco Pignataro, Managing Director

Marco Pignataro is a multi-talented saxophonist, composer, educator, and jazz columnist. A native of Bologna, Italy, Pignataro has performed extensively across Europe and the Americas, sharing stages and clinics with artists such as Eddie Gomez, Oscar Stagnaro, Danilo Pérez, Arturo Sandoval, Ray Vega, Kenwood Dennard, Antonio Sanchez, Paquito D'Rivera, Billy Drummond, Clark Terry, Billy Hart, and Jon Faddis. Pignataro has, until recently, been the director of the Jazz and Caribbean Music Department and Jazz Saxophone chair at the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico. At the conservatory, he developed the jazz saxophone curriculum, cofounded the bachelor of music in jazz and Caribbean music studies, and founded and directed the CMPR Jazz Faculty Ensemble and the CMPR Jazz Festival. His column, Style & Influence, was regularly featured in the quarterly magazine Jazz Improv. Pignataro was elected as an IAJE Executive Board Member of the International Association of Jazz Educators (IAJE), where he served as the first IAJE Latin America Representative and founder and president of the IAJE Chapter of Puerto Rico, the IAJE Latin American Ensemble, and the IAJE Puerto Rico Big Band. He is a RICO Performing Artist, as well as an endorser for Mauriat saxophones and the Applied Microphone Technology Wireless System.