Daniel Piper is a music scholar and multi-instrumentalist with a PhD in ethnomusicology from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. He has conducted extensive field research in the Dominican Republic and northeast Brazil and has published on traditional music, popular religion, and dance from these countries. Piper’s dissertation is entitled, “Urbanization, Gender, and Cultural Emergence in the Music of Dominican Popular Religion: Salves and Palos in San Cristóbal.” He has also written numerous essays on topics such as improvisation in early jazz, musical modernization in Brazil, Cuban rumba and rap, and Afro-Dominican pilgrimage and processionals. Through long-term fieldwork projects, he has developed expertise in ethnographic interviewing, videography, and photography, which continue to serve him well in his work at MIM.
Piper has also been a lifelong performer and ongoing student of various instruments and musical styles. He has performed and recorded as a pianist, violinist, and arranger with several original ensembles in the Philadelphia area and, as a freelance musician, has performed in jazz combos, musicals, a gospel choir, and various chamber and Irish traditional music ensembles. Piper has also played a variety of percussion in a Ghanaian drumming ensemble, Cuban rumba and Dominican palos sessions, and in many street processionals and workshops with the Philadelphia-based samba group Fandango. In the last ten years, he has drawn upon this experience to lead workshops for children and adults on Latin American and West African percussion.
At MIM, Piper has primary responsibility for the Latin American and Caribbean collections and exhibits.