Oscar Peterson Net Worth and Salary

Oscar Peterson net worth in 2019: How did one of the greatest pianist become successful and famous? Read on as we reveal the Oscar Peterson success story, earnings and net worth.

Who is Oscar Peterson?

Oscar Peterson Net Worth

Often referred to as the Maharaja of the keyboard, Oscar Peterson was a pianist and music composer from Canada.

He specialized in jazz music and has hundreds of recordings to his name. Oscar Peterson is a receiver of numerous awards and is regarded as one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time.

Oscar Peterson net worth in 2019 if he was alive today will have a net worth a little above $1.6 million.

Net Worth $1.6 million
Profession Pianist, Music Composer
Date of Birth August 15, 1925
Died December 23, 2007
Citizenship Canadian
Height 6’5

Early Life

Oscar Peterson was born on the 15th of August 1925 in Montreal, Quebec a major province in Canada. Peterson had his upbringing in the neighbourhood of Little Burgund, Montreal an area populated with blacks and known to have a jazz culture.

Peterson began playing the trumpet at the age of five but had to drop it at the age of seven due to slight symptoms of tuberculosis he experiences. He turned all his attention to the piano with his sister Daisy serving as his instructor.

Peterson was born for the piano as he spent hours daily practising scales and jazz. Be came under the tutelage of Paul De Marky who trained him mostly on classical and jazz.

He continued playing and caught the attention of many at the age of fourteen when he went on to win the national music competition hosted by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Upon winning the competition, Peterson dropped out from high school and pursued his career as a pianist.


He started out playing in music shows, hotels, and radio programs but had gained the attention of prominent American jazz figure Norman Granz who was so much in love with his work and become Peterson manager for most of his career years.

Peterson in the course of his career started out working with bassist Ray Brown but was later joined by guitarist Barney Kessel but was replaced by Herb Ellis.

The group went on musical tour performing jazz for a period of five years.

The group’s performances were a joy to behold but had a little set back in 1958 with the departure of Herb Ellis who was considered one of the best of his time.

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Getting a like for like replacement wasn’t possible so the group had to get a drummer by the name Ed Thigpen and together they recorded two albums namely albums Night Train and Canadiana Suite.

Peterson later formed another with guitarist Joe Pass and bassist Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen after the departure of his former group members.

The group won a Grammy Awards for Best Jazz performance as a group.

Peterson has gone on to win numerous awards for his outstanding accomplishments in the world of music particularly Jazz.

Later Life

He suffered from arthritis as a youth and also weight over 120 kg. He experienced a stroke at the age of 58 partially paralyzing the left part of his body.

This greatly affected his piano playing as he had to use more of his right hands.

Over time, his health deteriorated and he finally passed away on the 23rd of December 2007 as a result of kidney failure.

How did he amass such wealth?

Oscar Peterson net worth if he was alive today will be $1.6 million.

We arrived at that figure based on the average annual earnings of a jazz pianist in 2019 is $40,000 but Peterson isn’t just any jazz pianist but one of the greatest of all time.

He also made lots of money from his musical tours.

Awards and Recognition

The list is much but here are a few:

  • -1977: Best Jazz Performance by a Soloist The Giants
  • -1978: Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Soloist Oscar Peterson Jam – Montreux ’77
  • -Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement Award 
  • -Black Theatre Workshop, 1986
  • -Roy Thomson Award, 1987
  • -Toronto Arts Award for lifetime achievement, 1991
  • -Governor General’s Performing Arts Award, 1992
  • -Glenn Gould Prize, 1993

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Azoka Theo is the Co-Founder of Porumba. Theo is an Entrepreneur, Author, Blogger & Digital Nomad.

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