Quebec Standard

Friday, December 1, 2023

Canada’s latest coin pays homage to Oscar Peterson


Key takeaways: 

  • Montreal-born Peterson is regarded as one of the most prominent jazz pianists.
  • A $1 circulation coin marking jazz legend Oscar Peterson is unveiled today. 
  • Valentine De Landro created it.

Montreal pianist and jazz singer Oscar Peterson are being marked with a commemorative coin unveiled today. 

Peterson, who passed in 2007, was one of Canada’s most decorated singers and is recognized as one of the most prominent jazz pianists of all time.

The Royal Canadian Mint is issuing the $1 commemorative circulation coin to honor Peterson’s “great talent and ongoing musical legacy,” stated a statement. 

“The entire city will eventually realize that we had the world’s most outstanding pianist living here, in this nation. 

And I’m so proud that he was my friend,” stated Oliver Jones, a collaborator, and close friend. 

Raised in Montreal’s Saint-Henri neighborhood, Peterson got his beginning by playing for the largely immigrant and Black communities of the city’s south flank. Though Peterson grew to international glory in the span of a few years, he always kept a connection to local talent and Canadian artistry.

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Montreal pianist and jazz singer Oscar Peterson are being marked with a commemorative coin unveiled today

The coin has Peterson playing the piano and musical notes compared to his 1962 composition Hymn to Freedom, which became an anthem for the civil liberties movement in the 1960s.

A silver $20 coin is also open through the mint.

Act beyond faith 

Jones says that having a picture of Peterson put on a coin goes above what the two imagined for themselves.

“Our fathers would never think of what we’ve achieved. And what a wonderful feeling of seeing him being praised like this,” said Jones. 

Peterson passed away in 2007 after a profession of more than 60 years. He is recognized as a technical jazz intellectual, deserving of his place among the greats. 

Source – CBC News

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