Visitors to the National Arts Centre in Ottawa were greeted with a peculiar sound this week as the soundtrack for the Oscar Peterson statue had been unexpectedly changed. Listeners expecting jazz or bebop instead heard much more accessible and familiar material.
“Chopsticks was the first song I learned to play on piano and I think I can play it much better than this Peterson man, so where is my statue?” asked Patrick Bernal of Montreal.
Lucy Carls of Courtright, Ontario was similarly dismissive. “I’d not heard Mr. Peterson’s work, only his name, so I was disappointed to hear that this is what Canada considers brilliant musicianship.”
When contacted for comment, an NAC spokesperson was apologetic but had no explanation as to who had changed the music, or how.
The exhibit’s soundtrack was restored to classic Peterson repertoire within the hour of our inquiry, but by late evening was playing a clearly amateurish rendition of Hoagy Carmichel’s “Heart and Soul”.
Officials are still investigating.