Danilo Pérez: Overcoming boundaries and connecting through music

Danilo Pérez pursues an important mission through his music: The Grammy-nominated jazz pianist and UNESCO Artist for Peace wants to transcend borders and sees jazz as an important inspiration for creating peace.

“Music became an important tool against conflict, bringing hope to the world.”

Pérez first came in touch with the piano in his early childhood. Looking back, he states that he learned to see the world through the window of music from his father, a Panamanian musician. Inspiring a worldwide audience, the artist processes his impressions in his multifaceted and expressive compositions. Pérez feels at home both in small jazz-clubs and on the big stages of great concert halls. Wherever he is, he maintains close contact to his audience.

Yamaha Music Europe met the artist in Spain during the European-tour of his latest project “Children of The Light,” a band he co-leads with John Patitucci and Brian Blade. In an intense interview, Pérez talks about the special connection to this instrument that he experiences with the Yamaha premium pianos. In addition, he speaks about the mission that he attaches to his music.

“Music is in every aspect of our life. It helps us in finding answers about the question who we are.”


As the son of a Panamanian singer and bandleader, Danilo Pérez had his first experience with the piano at the age of three. At the age of ten, he started his professional education at the National Conservatory in Panama. After finishing his studies of electronics, Pérez fully concentrated on playing the piano and started studying at Berklee College of Music. While still a student, his talent allowed Danilo Pérez to work with Jon Hendricks, Terence Blanchard, Slide Hampton, Claudio Roditi and Paquito D’Rivera at this early point of his career. Between 1989 and 1992 he was part of Dizzy Gillespies United Nations Orchestra. Danilo Pérez received four Grammy nominations for his albums “Central Avenue“, “Motherland“, “Across the Crystal Sea” and “Providencia”.

Pérez combines his musical career with a strong social involvement. As former UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and present UNESCO Artist for Peace, Cultural Ambassador of the Republic Panama, founder of the Berklee Global Jazz Institute as well as founder and Artistic Director of the Panama Jazz Festival, he wants to emphasize the social relevance of jazz and its potential to create peace. Supporting the artist’s mission, the Danilo Pérez Foundation has launched several musical educational programs for children from socially disadvantaged backgrounds. Pérez has recently toured together with John Patitucci und Brian Blade for his latest album “Children Of The Light”.