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Oscar Peterson receives the Glenn Gould Prize

The Story

The award unites two of Canada's greatest musicians. On May 10, 1993 a prize named after Glenn Gould, the eccentric classical pianist extraordinaire, is awarded to Oscar Peterson, the jazz virtuoso. The Glenn Gould Prize recognizes Peterson for his exceptional contribution to music. On a stage decorated with deep pink roses, Governor General Raymond Hnatyshyn presents Peterson with the award, along with a $50,000 cash prize and an original work of art. Peterson in return delights the luminaries gathered at CBC's Glenn Gould Studio with a rare live performance. Peterson performs several pieces with the backing of his legendary trio: Ray Brown and Herb Ellis along with Jeff Hamilton on drums.

Medium: Radio
Program: Arts National
Broadcast Date: May 10, 1993
Guest: Oscar Peterson
Host: Augusta LaPaix, Margaret Pacsu
Duration: 14:42

Did You know?

• Peterson later said he was especially delighted to receive the award. He felt it legitimized jazz music as a genre and put it on equal footing with classical music.
• Oscar Peterson described meeting Glenn Gould on TVOntario's Daytime program. "I met him once. We were talking about doing a show for the CBC here... we were in the throes of putting the show together... as to what we were going to do musically and otherwise and I was made aware that very day he died."

• A few days before the Glenn Gould award ceremony, Peterson suffered a mild stroke during a performance in New York. The stroke weakened his left arm. Despite his fragile state, he came onto the Toronto stage in a wheel chair, Peterson gave a dazzling performance.

• Peterson nominated American pianist Benny Green, for the first ever Glen Gould International Protégé Prize.

• Following his stroke, Peterson cancelled his upcoming European concert tour, under doctor's orders.

• It would be almost two years before he played again in public. Oscar Peterson: A Musical Biography by Alex Barris, (Toronto: HarperCollins Canada, 2002)

• Peterson has had arthritis in his hands since the 1970s. It's a condition that runs in his family.

• The Glenn Gould Prize is awarded every three years to an individual who has earned international recognition for exceptional contribution to music.


Oscar Peterson: A Jazz Giant more