Royal Conservatory of Music renames school in honour of Oscar Peterson

The Royal Conservatory of Music has renamed its community school after Oscar Peterson, the legendary pianist and alumnus of the prestigious Toronto-based education institution.

What was once called the Royal Conservatory School will now be known as the Oscar Peterson School of Music.

Next fall, the Royal Conservatory will also launch the Oscar Peterson Program, a scholarship program offering tuition-free music instruction to underserved youth. Details will be announced in early 2022.

Widely regarded as one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time, Peterson started his training using the curriculum of the Royal Conservatory’s certificate program and credited his studies in classical music as foundational to his success.

“It is the RCM’s immense pleasure to honour Oscar Peterson, one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century, by naming our school after him,” said Dr. Peter Simon, president and CEO of the Royal Conservatory.

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The Oscar Peterson School of Music offers a wide variety of private lessons and group classes for people of all ages, levels and artistic interests. The Peterson School is dedicated to excellence in music education, developing new and innovative programs to meet the needs of students, and presenting educational opportunities that are used by a highly diverse student base.

“The renaming of the Royal Conservatory School would have humbled Oscar tremendously — and he would have been thrilled,” Kelly Peterson, Oscar’s widow, said on behalf of the Peterson family. “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.”

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

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