Originally from Montreal, Quebec, Oscar Emmanuel Peterson was born August 15 in the year 1925 and would begin his musical career in the year of 1945. He would grow up to have a long and very successful musical career and would also come to be regarded as one of the greatest pianists of the time. Unlike many other well-known musicians he lived a very long life, passing away at the age of 82 on December 23, 2007 in Ontario. Throughout his life, he played live concerts around the world, recorded many albums, won numerous Grammy awards and many other awards for his music.
At the early age of five years, Oscar Peterson began playing the trumpet and the piano, which his father and sister taught him how to play; however, his interests soon turned toward the piano as a result of suffering from tuberculosis that made playing the trumpet difficult. Besides his father and sister, Oscar also learned from Paul de Marky, who was also a classical pianist. Even thought most of the music he was taught was classical, he was extremely interested by jazz. Before the age of ten, the talent started to show through his amazing control of his piano playing. This could be attributed to his intense practice, which was between four and six hours a day. His amazing control could very well be attributed to his extreme self-discipline in music, though the time he spent practicing shortened to about two hours a day after a few years.
The first award he won was at the age of fourteen, when he participated in a national music competition. It was this moment that really changed his life. He left school and immediately began his career by playing professionally in hotels, music halls and on a radio show. He later went on to play in duets, trios, and quartets. It was then during the 1950s when his reputation as one of the worlds leading jazz pianists was made that he began to play in small bands, quartets, trios, duets and even solos, though solos were not something he did very often. He did, however, create a few albums that were solos. Besides his playing, Oscar was also known for some of the music he composed. He wrote some songs, but also composed numerous pieces for the piano that were for trios and quartets and big band.
Though it may not seem it when watching him play, Oscar had suffered arthritis since he was very young and one would think that this could make playing the piano quite difficult. Later in his life, he also suffered a stroke that made playing even more difficult, but he did not allow any of his health problems to get in the way of his playing. He continued to play in the 90s, even if it was more with one hand, and continued to make both live and studio recordings. He was a man that was dedicated to his music and would not let anything get in the way of his playing if he could help it. During his 65 year career, he won no less than seven Grammy awards for his talent and his many recordings continue to be listened to and enjoyed today.