In a 2002 interview with International Musician, Oscar Peterson explained that he first began playing and listening to classical music as a young child, stating “I only first really heard jazz somewhere between the ages of 7 and 10.”
Oscar Peterson received piano lessons in his hometown of Montreal, and the influence of composers past can be heard in his work throughout his career. He recorded the album ‘Side By Side’ with Itzhak Perlman.
Critics agree that Oscar Peterson, who had suffered a stroke a few years earlier, sounds healthy throughout their recording. “The economy of his playing here shows just how much he can say with only a few notes.,” writes Howard Reich in his review for the Chicago Tribune.