Oscar Peterson

What's in the Case? 


Jacket: This custom tuxedo jacket, worn by the Jazz legend on stage, also features his Order of Canada pin on the lapel. This pin was awarded to Peterson in 1984 when he became a Companion of the Order of Canada. The designation is among the highest honours given to Canadian citizens who have made extraordinary contributions to enriching the nation.

Oscar Peterson and Massey Hall


On March 7, 1946, twenty-year-old Canadian jazz pianist Oscar Peterson, who hailed from Montreal, made his first of many appearances at Massey Hall. An ad for the show proclaimed, "Now in Toronto. Canada's Sensational 20-Year-Old Piano Stylist Modern and Classical Programme (with rhythm accompaniment).”

Fans could purchase tickets at the King Edward Hotel or at Massey Hall's box office. Prices ranged from ninety cents up to $2.40. The Globe and Mail headline the following day proclaimed, "Swing Pianist Stirs Massey Hall Throng.” Reviewer Dillon O’Leary wrote, "Oscar Peterson's first appearance in Massey Hall last night had the large audience shouting for encores as he left, and revealed a swing pianist of wide abilities and a young man with a promising career. Peterson's set included "mainly standard tunes of bygone years, which have weathered the test of time." Following this successful debut, Peterson returned to Massey the following year. The popular pianist would go on to play Massey four more times over the course of his long and distinguished career.
– Excerpt from Massey Hall by David McPherson, published by permission of Dundurn Press

Artist Biography
One of the most gifted and dedicated jazz pianists that Canada has ever seen. By all accounts, he was a gentleman, a family man, and an inspiration to many. Over the years, Peterson collaborated with such stars as Charlie Parker, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Nat King Cole, and Stan Getz. Still, some of his most legendary works came from the Oscar Peterson Trio.

Over the decades, Peterson earned countless awards and accolades, including eight Grammy Awards, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement, an International Jazz Hall of Fame Award, was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, and was named a Companion of the Order of Canada, its highest level; in addition to being a member of the Order of Ontario, a Chevalier of the National Order of Quebec, and an officer of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of France.

On December 23, 2007, Peterson died at his home in Mississauga, ON. A celebration of his life was held at Roy Thomson Hall on January 12, 2008, and was free to the public. Artists including Herbie Hancock, Nancy Wilson, Quincy Jones, Molly Johnson, and Measha Brueggergosman were friends who performed in his honour as part of the two-hour show that consisted of tributes and stories from family, friends, government officials, and fans

More from Oscar Peterson

Official Website
Watch: A Canadian Heritage Minute
Listen: Oscar Peterson Trio Night Train
Read Massey Hall by David McPherson