The International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago (ILCC) is proud to announce that the Grammy® award-winning Panamanian pianist, educator and social activist Danilo Pérez has been awarded the 2015 Gloria Career Achievement Award. This Award is given to individuals and institutions that have significantly contributed to the development of the Latino community, not only in Chicago and the United States but also across the Globe. Past recipients of the Gloria Award include Cuban actor Jorge Perugorría, Brazilian director Carlos Diegues, legendary Cuban singer Celia Cruz, the multi-award winning Puerto Rican actress Rita Moreno and Mexican artist Leonardo Nierman.
“Glory being the pinnacle of success and splendor, the highest recognition of excellence, it is a tremendous responsibility and a huge honor to be considered for such an important award," reflects Pérez, who will be the guest of honor of the Closing Night concert of the Latino Music Festival, which celebrates its 10th Anniversary, on Sunday November 22nd at the Merle Reskin Theater, 60 E. Balbo Drive.
The concert will feature the Chicago debut of the Recycled Instruments Orchestra of Cateura, comprised of boys, girls, teenagers and young adults with limited access to resources, who live in the Bañado Sur community, located next to the Cateura landfill, in Asunción, Paraguay and who perform using instruments elaborated with garbage reclaimed from the landfill. The Oistrakh Symphony Orchestra of Chicago will join them in the program.
“Danilo is more than a musical genius. He is a true champion of the arts. He believes in the transformative power of the arts, and in its ability to unite people from all walks of life. He has created a new musical idiom through such compositions as ‘Suite of the Americas’ and ‘The Canal Suite.’ He has inspired a new generation of musicians and artists who are now following in his footsteps. We are proud to honor Danilo with the Gloria Award in what promises to be a truly memorable evening with these two youth-driven orchestras,” said Pepe Vargas, executive director and founder of the International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago.
In addition to over three decades of contributions to jazz and contemporary music, Pérez’s annual Panama Jazz Festival has brought world-renowned musicians to the country for the last 12 years, not only to perform but also to work closely with local youth. The mission of the festival is carried on throughout the year by the Fundación Danilo Pérez, which offers musical and cultural education to disadvantaged young people in Panama City. In Boston, Pérez currently serves as Artistic Director of the Berklee Global Jazz Institute, which offers students an opportunity to explore creativity and advance the social power of music through the restoration of ecology and humanity.
Pérez released the critically acclaimed record Children of the Light with bassist John Patitucci and drummer Brian Blade (Mack Avenue Records) on September 18th, 2015. Starting in October, Pérez, Patitucci and Blade will be touring in support of the new album through Europe and North America.
Directed by Favio Chavez, The Recycled Instruments Orchestra of Cateura’s repertoire includes classical music, folk music, Paraguayan and Latin American music, works by the Beatles and Frank Sinatra, film sound scores and symphonic heavy metal. The Orchestra instruments resemble violins, violas, cellos, double bass, guitars, flutes, saxophones, trumpets and percussion instruments. They are the subject of a documentary called The Landfilharmonic, which is currently making the rounds of film festivals worldwide.
Founded by Egyptian violinist Mina Zikri in 2005, the Oistrakh Symphony Orchestra fills an artistic need for young adult musicians to be fulfilled and employed. Zikri recognized a dichotomy in symphonic music. As many nations advanced from Third World status, parents in those countries began giving their children music lessons, sending the most promising to elite conservatories. Added to the young talent still coming from Europe and the United States, more world-class musicians are probably alive today than in all of human history. At the same time, the number of jobs for skilled musicians has remained the same or declined. The orchestra collaborates with well-known featured soloists from both the world of symphonic music and other musical genres such as folk, jazz and pop.