Celebrating Oscar Peterson’s 90th birthday

Come and wish Oscar Peterson, one of the world’s greatest jazz musicians “Happy Birthday” on Saturday, August 15 at 1:00 p.m. The National Arts Centre will be hosting a jazz concert by the Clayton Connell quartet beside the statue of Oscar Peterson on the corner of Elgin St. and Albert St. Clayton Connell will be performing Oscar Peterson’s signature piece, Hymn to Freedom, which became an anthem for the civil rights movement in the 1960s.

Oscar  Peterson's music has touched people around the world, including NAC Orchestra Music Director Alexander Shelley. "Oscar Peterson has been an idol of mine, an inspiration since I was a little boy, since I first heard the song Hymn to Freedom," said Shelley.

The statue of Oscar Peterson that graces the corner of Albert St. and Elgin St. in Ottawa has become a beloved landmark in the nation's capital. The statue was unveiled amid great celebration on June 30, 2010 by Queen Elizabeth II and The Duke of Edinburgh. More than 10,000 people lined Elgin and Albert Streets to participate in the unveiling. Montreal musician and broadcaster, Gregory Charles hosted the event, Trevor Payne and the Montreal Jubilation Gospel Choir sang, and Jazz Pianist Oliver Jones played “Hymn to Freedom”.

Five years later the Oscar's statue continues to draw together music lovers of all ages. At any moment during the day or night one can see people taking their place on the bench next to Oscar, one arm wrapped around his shoulder with a big smile to match Oscar's warm and welcoming expression.

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