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Introducing the Oscar Peterson Program

Introducing the Oscar Peterson Program

Published on May 26, 2022

Tuition-free music education for young musicians from equity priority groups.

Colin Clarke

The Royal Conservatory is pleased to announce details of the Oscar Peterson Program, a new initiative that will provide comprehensive musical training, tuition free, for young people from communities across the Greater Toronto Area that are underserved in formal music education.

“Music has the power to change lives. It provides a proven gateway to improved self-confidence, discipline, creativity, and the acquisition of learning and social skills needed for school success,” said Colin Clarke, Artistic Director of the Oscar Peterson Program. “Music classes in public schools have been diminishing over the past few decades. By removing financial barriers, this new initiative strives to address the inequality of access while reflecting Dr. Peterson’s strong belief that music education should be available to everyone.”

The Program begins in October 2022 and students will receive instruction from inspiring and dynamic faculty at the Oscar Peterson School (located at The Royal Conservatory). In addition, these students will have the opportunity to attend concerts by world-class musicians from diverse backgrounds and musical genres performing in acclaimed Koerner Hall.

Young musicians in Grades 6 through 9 are invited to apply before the September 17 deadline. Space is limited and students are encouraged to apply early to have an opportunity to jumpstart their learning over the summer. The RCM will provide students with instruments, as required, to eliminate any financial barriers to their participation in the Program, and ensure they have home access to an instrument on which to practice.
The Oscar Peterson Program offers two streams: Orchestra and Scholars. The Orchestra will be the flagship performing ensemble of the Oscar Peterson Program, providing students the opportunity to perform a wide variety of music. The Scholars Program will identify especially talented and committed students who will study the full Royal Conservatory of Music curriculum over several years. A choir stream will be added to the Program in September 2023.

“The Royal Conservatory strongly believes that the transformative power of music should be accessible to all. As a thriving centre of music education and performance, the RCM is uniquely positioned to offer students from equity priority groups this extraordinary opportunity to study music and enrich their lives,” said Dr. Peter Simon, President & CEO of The Royal Conservatory.

Listen to Colin Clarke speak on CBC Metro Morning about the Program.

Application and audition details are available at