Renee Rosnes, Artistic Director
Kelly Peterson, Artistic Producer
Bravo Niagara!, Executive Producer

Spearheaded by Artistic Director, the 5-time JUNO Award-winning, celebrated jazz pianist Renee Rosnes, the world’s first (and only!) jazz festival bearing the name of Canada’s greatest jazz artist will honour and celebrate his legacy of excellence. This Festival is not intended to simply present concerts in tribute to Oscar Peterson, but rather to truly present jazz, showcasing the rich history and the future of the music Oscar loved.

Norman Granz and Jazz at the Philharmonic

The first annual Oscar Peterson International Jazz Festival was dedicated to Norman Granz, celebrating the 100th anniversary of his birth. “Impresario, record producer, civil rights activist, and founder of Jazz at the Philharmonic, Norman Granz is arguably the most important non-musician in jazz history,” said Kelly Peterson, Artistic Producer of the festival. “The role that Norman played in presenting jazz cannot be underestimated. The role he played in breaking down racial barriers, however, was his proudest accomplishment.”

Jazz at the Philharmonic (“JATP” as it was known) was a series of all-star jam-session-style concerts that began in 1944 when Granz presented a concert at the Philharmonic Auditorium in Los Angeles. The first to present jazz in concert halls, giving it the same respect as classical music, he made it a contractual obligation for there to be no segregation in the concert venues, leading the charge against discrimination long before the Civil Rights Movement began. Granz himself said, “The whole reason for Jazz at the Philharmonic was to take it to places where I could break down segregation and discrimination.”

Photography by Alex Heidbuechel