Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Montreal | Honoring the memory of Oscar Peterson in the heart of downtown

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Tony Vaughn
Tony Vaughn
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The mayor of Montreal, Valerie Plante, has announced that legendary jazz musician Oscar Peterson, who passed away 14 years ago, will give his name to a portion of McGill College Avenue in downtown Montreal, which will be completely redeveloped.

Isabel Ducasse

Isabel Ducasse

Discussions continued for several years about how best to honor the memory of the famous musician: a petition collecting 26,000 signatures, calling for the Lionel Groulks metro station to be renamed in his honor, was circulated, while members of Oscar Peterson’s entourage were. He suggested giving his name to the Metropolitan Express Network (REM) station under construction.

Last year, the opposition Ensemble Montreal party submitted a motion proposing that the Place des Festivals be renamed after the pianist.

But the city preferred to honor him by allocating him a new public square, located in the heart of the city, Mayor Blunt explained.

“We want to establish an immersive world, with sensory, meditative and immersive installations, as well as a figurative artwork in memory of Jazman,” she revealed. Futuristic artworks will be the subject of competitions in the coming months. ”

André Maynard, the co-founder of the Montreal International Jazz Festival, who knew Oscar Peterson well, said he wanted to install a public piano in the new arena.

There will also be an urban jungle, aquariums, relaxation areas, and an agora.

“This choice is also a step in the right direction in terms of inclusion, given that cultural diversity is underrepresented in the public space and that Mr. Peterson has [fait face] “Racism during his lifetime,” Valerie Blunt added.

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His widow is ‘very pleased’

Oscar Peterson’s widow, Kelly Peterson, who was consulted by the city about the project, said she was “overjoyed” with the decision. said mr.I Peterson, who was also attending Tuesday’s press conference.

The chosen site is currently being invaded by machines: McGill’s REM station is installed in its basement. When this work is completed in 2023, the city will be able to begin development of the new public square, which is supposed to be completed in 2025, in time for 100NS Birth anniversary of Oscar Peterson, mI factory.

Photo by Bernard Brault, press archives

Oscar Peterson

In Montreal, a park in the Little Burgundy region, where the musician was born, bears his name, as well as a concert hall at Concordia University.

Oscar Peterson, who has recorded over 200 recordings and won 8 Grammy Awards from 1974 to 1997 (for his lifetime achievement), is considered not only the greatest jazz musician in Montreal history, but also one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time.

He has collaborated with the biggest names in jazz including Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington.

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