Danilo Pérez Wins United States Artists Fellowship and Victoriano Lorenzo Award

By 
Nick Balkin
January 29, 2018
Press release
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Danilo Pérez; photo by John Abbott
Terence Blanchard; photo by Henry Adebonojo
Danilo Pérez was recently named a 2018 United States Artists (USA) Fellow. The Grammy-winning pianist, composer, and educator is the artistic director of the Berklee Global Jazz Institute.
Pérez (right) receives the Victoriano Lorenzo Award from Rafael Pino-Pinto (left), governor of the province of Panama, at the 15th annual Panama Jazz Festival.
Left to right: jazz legends Danilo Pérez, Wayne Shorter '99H, Brian Blade, and John Patitucci after performing at the Panama Jazz Festival gala concert.
Grammy-winning trumpeter, composer, and educator Terence Blanchard, who has scored a multitude of films, including many from director Spike Lee, was also named a 2018 USA Fellow. Blanchard is a visiting scholar at Berklee.
Image by John Abbott
Image by Henry Adebonojo

Danilo Pérez, artistic director of the Berklee Global Jazz Institute, has been named a 2018 United States Artists (USA) Fellow. The unrestricted $50,000 award is considered one of the most prestigious grants in the country.

Pérez, a Grammy-winning pianist, composer, and educator, said the grant will provide the opportunity to continue developing a number of musical projects he’s been working on for years. "I'd like to form a band with musicians from different parts of the world to create music that provides a platform for intercultural dialogue," he said.

Pérez was also recently honored at the 15th annual Panama Jazz Festival, where Rafael Pino-Pinto, the governor of the province of Panama, presented him with the nation’s first Victoriano Lorenzo Award, named after Panama’s revered patriot and leader of marginalized indigenous peoples. Pérez, who founded the jazz festival in 2003 and serves as its artistic director, was given the award in recognition of his enduring contributions to art and culture in Panama.

Pino-Pinto lauded Pérez, noting that “with music, he exalts the country” of Panama.

USA Fellows are awarded to artists at all stages of their careers through a rigorous nomination and panel selection process. The fellows come from across the country, and represent various fields of artistic production: architecture and design, craft, dance, media, music, theater and performance, traditional arts, visual arts, and writing.

Grammy-winning trumpeter, composer, and educator Terence Blanchard, a visiting scholar in Berklee’s Jazz Composition Department, was also named a 2018 USA Fellow.

Other recipients in the field of music include Wayne Shorter '99H, Amir ElSaffar, Ruthie Foster, Tania León, Toshi Reagon, Somi, and Tyshawn Sorey.

Watch Pérez discuss his work with the Berklee Global Jazz Institute: