Royal Conservatory of Music renames school after jazz legend Oscar Peterson

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TORONTO — The Royal Conservatory of Music is honouring Canadian jazz pianist Oscar Peterson by renaming its community school after the late alumnus.

The organization says the Royal Conservatory School is now known as the Oscar Peterson School of Music.

The RCM says it will also launch the Oscar Peterson Program, a scholarship offering free music instruction to underserved youth, in the fall of 2022.

Peterson, widely regarded as one of the foremost jazz pianists of his generation, started his music training with the RCM certificate program.

The Montreal native went on to win multiple Juno Awards and was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame before dying of kidney failure in 2007 at the age of 82.

Peterson received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997.

Peterson's wife, Kelly Peterson, said Thursday in a statement that the renaming of the Royal Conservatory School "would have humbled Oscar tremendously."

"It was Oscar's belief that music education is extremely important for every single person, regardless of whether they intend to pursue a career in music or not, and that his classical music training gave him his technical foundation," Kelly Peterson said.

This is the second time The Royal Conservatory has named one of its schools after an RCM alumnus. The Royal Conservatory of Music Professional School was renamed The Glenn Gould School in 1997.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 9, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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