Wayne Shorter, Kris Davis and Danilo Pérez win 2021 Doris Duke Artist Awards

Jazz musicians Wayne Shorter, Kris Davis and Danilo Pérez are among the recipients of the 2021 Doris Duke Artist Awards.

Sponsored by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the awards go to exemplary artists in contemporary dance, jazz, theatre and related interdisciplinary work “who have demonstrated their artistic vitality and commitment to their field.” Each award comes with a $275,000 grant, intended as an investment in their artistic potential and celebration of their ongoing contributions.

“Art is the antidote to crisis. These exemplary artists demonstrate that a time of unprecedented disruption in the arts and across society cannot stifle the power of great art to persevere,” said Sam Gill, president and CEO of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. “We are proud to support these outstanding creators and accelerate their phenomenal contributions to society.”

Wayne Shorter is a masterful saxophonist and composer who has won 12 Grammy Awards and been recognized by The New York Times as “probably jazz’s greatest living small-group composer and a contender for greatest living improviser.” Many of his compositions have become jazz standards, and he has recorded more than 20 albums as a bandleader. He is currently working on a new operatic work titled Iphigenia with bassist Esperanza Spalding and theatre director Lileana Blain-Cruz.

Kris Davis is a critically acclaimed Canadian pianist and composer who was described by The New York Times as a beacon for “deciding where to hear jazz on a given night.” Davis was born in Vancouver and raised in Calgary before she went on to study jazz at the University of Toronto and then complete a master’s degree in classical composition from the City College of New York. Since 2003, she has released 23 recordings as a leader or co-leader, collaborated with previous Doris Duke award recipients such as Terri Lyne Carrington and Craig Taborn, and received multiple commissions for composing new works from The Shifting Foundation, The Jazz Gallery and the Canada Council for the Arts.

Danilo Pérez is a pianist and composer known for his innovative blend of sounds drawing from Panamanian roots, Latin American folk, West African rhythms and European impressionism. Pérez has released 11 albums as a bandleader, received three Grammy Awards and frequently collaborates with other prominent musicians, including the 2020 album Secrets are the Best Stories with Kurt Elling.


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