In Conversation with Peter Appleyard

This year, Conservatory Canada is delighted to recognize Canadian vibraphonist, Peter Appleyard, with an Honourary Licentiate Diploma.

The 84-year-old jazz legend recently took a few moments out of his busy touring and recording schedule to share his thoughts on music.

Today there are programs like Conservatory Canada’s Contemporary Idioms to teach kids how to play jazz. How did you get introduced to the art form?

I started listening to jazz records as a teenager in England. That was my only contact with it because it was during World War II. There were no colleges or programs where you could study jazz, so I bought records of groups like Django Reinhart, Sidney Bechet, and Benny Goodman. That was where I heard the vibraphone for the first time – on records. I’d never seen one. I heard the sound of the instrument and loved it. That encouraged me to find one and start to play.

Why do you think jazz continues to attract new audiences?

I asked [legendary composer and conductor] Marvin Hamlisch about this before he died. We were in Carnegie Hall sitting in the green room waiting to play. He said: “When they open up the time capsule in 100 years they’ll find the music of Gershwin and Cole Porter.”  Jazz is the only major art for to come out of North America. Consequently, it’s not a passing fancy. It’ll be here forever.

Do you have any advice for young jazz musicians?

The best thing to do when you study jazz is to learn what came before.

To learn more about Peter Appleyard visit www.peterappleyardvibes.com.  To hear him in action pick up his latest recordings: Sophisticated Ladies and The Lost 1974 Sessions – both released earlier this year!

Conservatory Canada’s 2012 Convocation takes place November 24 in London, Ontario.  Appleyard will be on hand to accept his award, and the citation will be delivered by Dan Donaldson.

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