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Oscar Peterson in conversation with Peter Gzowski

Oscar Peterson was a giant in every sense of the word. Standing well over six feet tall, he'd even been mistaken for a football player. But there's no mistaking his brilliance on the keyboard. His dazzling technique combined with his swinging style made the Montreal native, as one critic remarked, the best damn jazz pianist in the whole world. Oscar Peterson died on December 23, 2007. He was 82.

media clip
CBC Radio's Peter Gzowski visits Oscar Peterson at his home near Toronto. Together they look back on Peterson's long and illustrious career.
At this stage in his career, Peterson has received countless accolades and awards. Despite the honours, Peterson can't shake the feeling of being slighted by Canadians. He tells Gzowski how he has even been mistaken for a football player in Canada.

What is clear is Peterson's fierce nationalism. He's particularly passionate about issues of Quebec separation, native rights and the treatment of home-grown talent.
• Peterson was invested as a Companion of the Order of Canada (1985), appointed Chevalier de l'Ordre du Quebec (1991) and awarded the Governor General's Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement (1992).
• Peterson was the chancellor of York University from 1991 to 1994. A chancellor is the titular head and has the power to bestow all university degrees.

• In 2000 Peterson was awarded the prestigious UNESCO International Music Prize, becoming the first Canadian to receive the prize.
• John Gzowski, Peter's son, is an accomplished jazz musician.
• Peterson's long-awaited biography A Jazz Odyssey was published in 2002. It took him almost 17 years to complete the book. It was Peterson's wife who finally encouraged him to finish it.
Medium: Radio
Program: Morningside
Broadcast Date: Oct. 30, 1990
Guest(s): Oscar Peterson
Host: Peter Gzowski
Duration: 26:46
Photo: CBC/Bruce Macaulay

Last updated: January 27, 2012

Page consulted on September 10, 2014

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