Brott was the first music co-ordinator at Lakehead University (1968); he also directed the Lakehead Symphony Orchestra (Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra) 1967-72 and the Regina Symphony Orchestra 1971-3. In Thunder Bay he was music consultant for the four school councils for the region. From 1969 to 1990 he was artistic director and conductor of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra; under his leadership the orchestra grew from an amateur ensemble to a professional one with a 42-week season and 16,000 subscribers. The orchestra also gave birth to the Canadian Brass.
In 1972 Brott was appointed conductor of the BBC Welsh Orchestra, and in 1975 he assumed directorship of the CBC Winnipeg Orchestra. Appointed in 1981 as interim director of the Atlantic Symphony, from 1982 to 1985 he was artistic director and conductor of Symphony Nova Scotia. He led the Ontario Place Pops Orchestra 1983-1991, and was national president of the Youth and Music Canada (Jeunesses musicales du Canada) 1987-9. In 1988, together with his wife Ardyth, he founded the Boris Brott Summer Music Festival in Hamilton, Ont. In 1989 he was appointed associate director of Alexander Brott's McGill Chamber Orchestra, and founded the National Academy Orchestra of Canada, a mentor-apprentice program.
In addition to being invited to conduct the major Canadian orchestras, Brott guest-conducted in England (BBC Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Liverpool Philharmonic, BBC Northern Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, etc), France (Orchestre des Concerts Colonne), Italy, and Central and South America, as well as orchestras in Holland, Israel, Vatican City, Scandinavia, Japan, and Korea. He also guest-conducted in the US, eg, at Chautauqua, NY; Greensboro, North Carolina; and with the Dallas Symphony, Florida Orchestra, and Seattle Symphony.
In November 1977 he conducted works by Kenins, Symonds, and Weinzweig with the orchestra of the Beethovenhalle in Bonn. A few weeks earlier he had made his opera debut, conducting Donizetti's Daughter of the Regiment for the COC. Brott later directed Opera Hamilton and guest-conducted with the Canadian Opera Company and Sadler's Wells Opera.
He studied law at the University of Western Ontario 1992-5, and in 1995 began giving motivational seminars to Fortune 500 companies using symphonic music as a metaphor. Brott became music director of the New West Symphony, California, in 1995; concurrently, in 2002, he took over leadership of the McGill Chamber Orchestra. In 2004, he was appointed principal conductor of youth and education concerts for the National Arts Centre.
Broadcasts, Recordings, and Honours
Brott produced, conducted, or hosted a large number of television and radio programs for the CBC, and the BBC and ITV in the UK, and recorded with various orchestras for CBC, Mercury, Pro-Arte and Sony Classical. In 1986 he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada, and received an American Music Award. He was named Knight of Malta (1990), International Man of the Year (Cambridge, England, 1992), and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts of Great Britain (1996). In 2000, he conducted the Vatican premiere of Leonard Bernstein's controversial Mass before Pope John Paul II.
Canadian Music in London, Paris and Bonn: Norman Symonds Impulse - Kenins Beatae voces tenebrae - Weinzweig Dummiyah/Silence. Beethovenhalle O of Bonn. 1977. 2-RCI 477/(Kenins) 4-ACM 33 (CD)
Christmas Brott to You. CTL 477 5153
Corelli Concerto Grosso No. 1, Opus 6 - Vivaldi Concerto Grosso No. 8, Opus 3. CBC Toronto string orch, Zafer violin, Benac violin. 1966. CBC SM-3
Dances and Variations: Wallace. London SO. (1990). Campion RRCD-1307
Davies The Mennonite Piano Concerto. I. Baerg piano, London SO. Dueck Films PSC-101/Water Lily WLCD-5995/Campion RRCD-1304
- Good Times. Members of the London SO. (1989). Water Lily WLCD-5995/Campion RRCD-1304
Early Works of Three Masters: Mozart - Rossini - Mendelssohn. (1967). Mace MCS-9067
The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra: Haydn - Debussy - Wiren. CBC SM 284
Fiala Montréal. CBC Montreal orch. 1970. RCI 291/5-ACM 27
A Fifth of Broadway. Hamilton Phil Orch. CBC SM 5077
The German Dances of Mozart, Schubert and Beethoven. Northern Sinfonia O. (1967). Mace MCS-9070
Gounod Petite Symphonie - Beethoven Rondino for winds. CBC Toronto chamber ensemble. 1966. CBC SM-2
The Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra: Poulenc - McCauley. CBC SM 264
- Sibelius - Ravel - Stravinsky. CBC SM 200
The Hamilton Philharmonic Virtuosi: Bizet - Gellman - Fauré - Delius. CBC SM 295
Handel Opera Suites. Northern Sinfonia O. (1967). Mace MCS-9066
Hooray for Hollywood. Toronto Festival Pops. 1988. Pro-Arte CDD-422
Mozart Violin Concerto No. 5, K219 - Giardini Violin Concerto in A. Lefkowitz violin, English Chamb O. (1986). Sequence SEQ-11104
Orchestral Music from the Mannheim School: Cannabich - Holzbauer - Richter. Northern Sinfonia O. (1967). Mace MCS-9069
Serenades for Wind Instruments: Dvořák - Gounod. Northern Sinfonia O. (1967). Mace MCS-9065
The Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Poulenc - Prokofieff. CH 001
With Glowing Hearts. Symphony Nova Scotia. Lockett - Drigo - Gagnon - Branneiss Jr. CBC SM 5062
Author Gilles Potvin, Claire Versailles, Betty Nygaard King
'Concert in Carnegie Hall, NY, great for Canadian composers,' Montreal Gazette, Oct 1953
Bisbrouck, Noël. 'Un jeune chef de 18 ans dirige l'orchestre de "concert" à la télévision,' SemRC, vol 13, Jan 1963
'Pour sa dernière émission de la saison "L'Heure du concert" présente trois jeunes musiciens canadiens,' ibid, vol 16, Mar-Apr 1966
Heller, Zelda. 'The Brott family,' Jmc, Aug 1966; repr as 'The Alexander Brott family: music, rare instruments and the sound of the telephone,' Canadian Composer, 12, Nov 1966
'My most successful work,' Canadian Composer, 24 Dec 1967
Graham, June. 'Boris Brott,' Canadian Composer, 51, Jun 1970
Littler, William. 'Canada's mobile music man,' En route, Mar 1973
'CBC Winnipeg Orchestra appoints Boris Brott,' PfAC, Summer 1975
Schulman, Michael. 'The Montreal family Brott and its musical ramifications," PfAC, vol 13, Winter 1976
Waller, Adrian. 'Bravo for the musical Brotts,' Reader's Digest, vol 42, Jan 1978
Schulman, Michael. 'The arts have always been an easy political football to bounce, both pro and con...' Canadian Composer, 142, Jun 1979
Bailey, Bruce. 'First family of music,' Montreal Gazette, 15 Sep 1979
'Boris Brott comments,' OCSM Newsletter, vol 4, Dec 1980
Breault, Roger. 'Boris Brott,' Canadian Association of Youth Orchestras News and Views, 5, 6, Sep 1982, Apr 1983
Silverstein, Barbara. 'Conductor teaches working in harmony,' Toronto Star, 5 Nov 1995
Fraser, Hugh. 'Brott's orchestra leads funds race,' Hamilton Spectator, 6 Apr 1996
Hampson, Sarah. 'Boris Brott: The nerd behind the baton,' Globe and Mail, 6 Jul 2002
Creative Canada, vol 1
King, Betty Nygaard, Alexander Brott: My Lives in Music (Oakville, Ont 2005)
Links to Other Sites
Canadian Music Centre
Search the extensive CMC website for Canadian composer biographies and interviews, music scores, online newsletters, audio clips, podcasts, and more. Check out "CentreStreams" to listen to online archived recordings featuring outstanding Canadian composers.
The McGill Chamber Orchestra
The McGill Chamber Orchestra is one of Canada’s most established chamber orchestras. It was founded by Artistic Director Alexander Brott and his late wife, Lotte Brott.
'So You Want to Write a Fugue?' for Four Voices and String Quartet
Listen to an audio clip of Glenn Gould performing his composition 'So You Want to Write a Fugue?' for Four Voices and String Quartet. Also features Anita Darian, Boris Brott, Charles Bressler, Donald Gramm, Elizabeth Benson-Guy, the Juilliard String Quartet, Symphonia Quartet, and Vladimir Golschmann. From iTunes.
Brott Music Festival
The website for Hamilton’s Brott Music Festival. Features video clips, the latest concert calendar, and much more.
National Orchestra Academy of Canada
The website for the National Orchestra Academy of Canada, a professional orchestral training program based in Hamilton.
Besides hockey and the maple leaf, there is little as symbolically Canadian as the CBC – the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. It grew out of a developing nation's need to express its identity and find its voice.