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About the Oscar Peterson Program

About the Oscar Peterson Program

The Oscar Peterson Program is a new program taking place at The Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto beginning Fall 2022.  The Program is 100% tuition-free and consists of two streams: the Orchestra Program and the Scholars Program. Oscar Peterson Program staff will determine program placement for accepted applicants. 

The Orchestra Program

The Oscar Peterson Program Orchestra offers tuition-free and accessible education to members of underserved communities. It aims to cultivate musical excellence in a student-centered environment by providing high-quality orchestral training and performance to young musicians who might not otherwise have the opportunity to continue their musical studies.

The first orchestra of its kind in our community, the Oscar Peterson Program Orchestra provides a full orchestra setting for talented and passionate young musicians in Grades 6 through 9. The Orchestra will meet once weekly, exploring progressively more challenging repertoire, working toward term-end performances. Participants will be introduced to a range of diverse styles of music, from classical to jazz, and Baroque to Broadway. The program will also include exposure to music by BIPOC composers, arrangers, and artists.

Open to woodwinds, brass, percussion, and strings players, musicians will receive regular full orchestra rehearsals, private lessons with celebrated RCM faculty members, regular coaching sessions with student mentors from The Glenn Gould School, and classes in the foundations of music theory and history.

Rehearsals will take place on Sundays in Toronto at the Royal Conservatory of Music beginning Fall 2022. Rehearsals will include a combination of individual and group lessons in addition to regular full orchestra sessions. In addition to regular rehearsals, members will participate in weekly online musicianship classes, designed to provide players with a well-rounded music education. Sessions will include rudiments, harmony, critical listening, as well as like-instrument sessions.

The Scholars Program

Students showing exceptional promise and studying disciplines not traditionally involved in orchestra, such as piano and vocal, will have the opportunity to study in the Music Enrichment Program at the Oscar Peterson School of Music, completely tuition-free.

These students will receive exceptional instruction in the fundamentals of classical music through the RCM curriculum, as did Oscar Peterson himself. These important skills in music theory, music history, ear training and musicianship will provide an excellent foundation for our young students to enjoy and perform music from great classical composers as well as today’s popular artists.

Scholars will receive a one-hour weekly private lesson, a weekly music theory or history class, and RCM publications and digital supplemental materials applicable to their level and discipline. Students will be provided with access to RCM practice studio facilities, and arrangements will be made for access to high-quality instruments, as needed.

The Scholars will meet with Koerner Hall performers and inspirational guest speakers to explore their artistry and their roles as citizens in a global music community.

Weekly private lessons at the Royal Conservatory will be scheduled at a mutually agreed upon weekly day and time beginning Fall 2022. Scholars will be assessed and also placed in a weekly theory or history class based on their level.

Additional Access Opportunities

All students in the Oscar Peterson Program will be invited to attend selected Royal Conservatory Presents concerts, providing students the opportunity to see world-class musicians from diverse backgrounds and musical genres perform in Koerner Hall. Students will also have the opportunity to meet and speak with artists backstage.

To ensure no financial barriers exist and ensure students have access to an instrument on which to practice at home, students will be provided instruments as required.

Audition and Application Information

Interested students must complete the application form below, including their audition video. The audition video should include a short introduction, two contrasting pieces (one fast and one slow), and two scales from this list.

Students must also provide the email address of someone who can make a recommendation on the student’s musical ability and potential.

Applications for Fall 2022 have now closed.