Oscar Peterson

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Oscar Emmanuel Peterson CC CQ OOnt (August 15, 1925 – December 23, 2007) was a Canadian jazz pianist and composer. He was called the "Maharaja of the keyboard" by Duke Ellington, "O.P." by his friends,[1] and was a member of jazz royalty.[2] He released over 200 recordings, won seven Grammy Awards, and received other numerous awards and honours over the course of his career. He is considered to have been one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time,[3] who played thousands of live concerts to audiences worldwide in a career lasting more than 65 years.



Peterson grew up in the neighbourhood of Little Burgundy in Montreal, Quebec. It was in this predominantly black neighbourhood that he found himself surrounded by the jazz culture that flourished in the early 20th century.[4] At the age of five, Peterson began honing his skills with the trumpet and piano. However, a bout of tuberculosis at age seven prevented him from playing the trumpet again, and so he directed all his attention to the piano. His father, Daniel Peterson, an amateur trumpeter and pianist, was one of his first music teachers, and his sister Daisy taught young Oscar classical piano. Young Oscar was persistent at practising scales and classical etudes daily, and thanks to such arduous practice he developed his astonishing virtuosity.

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