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Alumnus Oscar Peterson Featured in Heritage Minute

Alumnus Oscar Peterson Featured in Heritage Minute

Published on February 25, 2021

Oscar Peterson
Oscar Peterson, Photo Courtesy of Edward Gajdel

The legacy of Oscar Peterson, RCM alumnus and widely regarded as one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time, has been showcased in a new Historica Canada Heritage Minute that follows Dr. Peterson from his humble beginnings in the Montreal neighbourhood of Little Burgundy to his rise to fame.  

In a press release, Anthony Wilson-Smith, CEO and president of Historica Canada, said: “Oscar Peterson’s music is timeless, and so is his story. From a childhood of poverty and battles against racial discrimination, he rose to become one of our most celebrated Canadians, and someone whose musical skills remain revered around the world.” 

Celine Peterson, Dr. Peterson’s daughter, said (via a CBC interview) that her father received many honours throughout his career, but she believes he would be especially proud of seeing his story in a Heritage Minute. 

I think this is one of the ones that would really overwhelm him. People all over the world are familiar with the Heritage Minute, and it's such a monumental form of recognition.
Celine Peterson

Dr. Peterson, who received the Order of Canada, Honorary Doctorates from the University of Toronto, Queen’s University and Concordia University, and an Honorary Fellowship from The Royal Conservatory – among many other accolades and awards – said the following about his foundational music education through the RCM. 

“The Royal Conservatory is one of the greatest leaders in music and arts education and a force for artistic and cultural development. Canadians have made huge inroads in the world of music and this is all the more reason that The Royal Conservatory should be generously supported for the role that is has played and continues to play in nurturing and preparing these artists become worthy of worldwide stature.” 


Watch the Oscar Peterson Heritage Minute Now