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(September 18-26, 2010)


Chicago at Sunset

Robert Julian Agnel

Oscar's Corner

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

September 26, 2010, 11:30 am EST

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© 2010 Robert Agnel, All Rights Reserved.

"Oscar's Corner" is at the corner of Elgin Street at the Mackenzie King Bridge in downtown Ottawa. The sculpture is located at the south west corner of the National Arts Centre.

Oscar (Emmanuel) Peterson, pianist, singer, composer, born in Montreal, Quebec on 15 Aug 1925, died in Mississauga, Ontario on 23 Dec 2007.

Duke Ellington once called Oscar Peterson "the maharajah of the keyboard."

As a testament to Oscar's high regard as a citizen and musician the sculpture was unveiled by Queen Elizabeth II on June 30th, 2010

Canada's cultural scene was in the spotlight the weekend of September 25 and 26 when this panorama was created. The country celebrated the first La Fête de la culture, Culture Days nationally. Towns and cities across the land feature local and national arts and culture through theatre, dance, music and art. It was fitting that my submission featured one of Canada's greatest musicians.

Few jazz musicians would be recorded more extensively; few if any Canadian musicians would enjoy as comparably high an international profile. Other notable Canadian jazz musicians followed in Oscar's international acclaim including; Paul Bley, Moe Koffman, Holly Cole, Oliver Jones, Maynard Ferguson and Diana Krall.
Oscar Peterson performing "Hymn to Freedom" on YouTube
Hymn to Freedom

When every heart joins every heart
And together yearns for liberty
That's when we'll be free

When every hand joins every hand
And together moulds our destiny
That's when we'll be free

Any hour any day
The time soon will come
When men will live in dignity
That's when we'll be free

When every man joins in our song
And together singing harmony
That's when we'll be free

Oscar Peterson's web site
Photographs of Oscar's Corner on Ottawa Panoramas
Oscar's Corner on Ottawa Panoramas

USA-Canada / Canada-Ontario

Lat: 45° 25' 21" N
Long: 76° 42' 38" W

Elevation: 72 metres

→ maps.google.com [EXT]

Precision is: High. Pinpoints the exact spot.

Nikon D90, Nikkor 10.5mm, 360Precision Atome, Manfrotto 055XDB, Photoshop CS4, Stitcher Unlimited, Pano2VR, MacBook
More about Oscar's Life and Times
His father, Daniel, a CPR porter, led the family band in concerts in Montreal church and community halls. Peterson, the fourth of five children, played trumpet at age five but switched to piano at eight after a year-long battle with tuberculosis. He was guided first by his older sister Daisy Peterson who also taught Oliver Jones, Joe Sealy, Reg Wilson and others in the city's black community. (His brother Chuck was a professional trumpeter; another sister, May, also taught piano.) At 12 he took piano lessons briefly from Lou Hooper; later he attended the Conservatoire de musique du Québec à Montréal, and at 15 he studied with Paul de Marky.

After his early career on CBC Radio, Oscar Peterson was not heard with any regularity on the network save via recordings until the 1970s when "Jazz Radio-Canada" broadcast concert performances and "That Midnight Jazz" and "The Entertainers" offered profiles. Peterson himself was host for the short series "Oscar Peterson's Jazz Soloists" in 1984 and "Jazz at the Philharmonic" in 1990. On CBC-TV he was seen in several specials (e.g., "Oscar Peterson Inside" in 1967 and "A Very Special Oscar Peterson" in 1976), as well as in a performance with a 37-piece orchestra of an orchestration of his Canadiana Suite with corresponding scenic footage in 1979 and in a 13-week series, "Oscar Peterson and Friends" in 1980. He was also host in the mid-1970s for CTV's "Oscar Peterson Presents" and BBC TV's "Piano Party". CBC Radio presented a seven-part documentary on Peterson in 1994.

Oscar declined requests from Jimmie Lunceford and Count Basie to move to the USA and join their bands. He wanted to remain close to his home and family in Canada. He did accept an invitation from the US impresario Norman Granz to be 'planted' in the audience at Granz's Jazz at the Philharmonic (JATP) presentation at Carnegie Hall, 18 Sep 1949, and to be brought onstage as a surprise guest. His performance caused a sensation that signaled the start of a major musical career.

Oscar Peterson was awarded numerous honorary degrees, among them: honorary LLD (Carleton) 1973, honorary LLD (Queen's) 1976, honorary LLD (Concordia) 1979, honorary D MUS (Sackville N.S) 1980, honorary LLD (McMaster) 1981, honorary LLD (Victoria) 1981, honorary D LITT (York) 1982, honorary DFA (Northwestern) 1983, honorary LLD (Toronto) 1985, honorary D MUS (Laval) 1985, honorary LLD (British Columbia) 1994, honorary LWCM 1994, honorary DFA (Niagara, New York) 1996, honorary LLD (Western) 1999.

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