Boris Brott is one of the most internationally recognized Canadian conductors, holding major posts as Music Director and Principal Guest Conductor in Canada, Europe and the United States. He enjoys an international career as guest conductor, educator, motivational speaker and cultural ambassador. Currently, Mr. Brott is Artistic Director of the Orchestre Classique de Montreal (formerly McGill Chamber Orchestra), Founding Artistic Director of the Brott Music Festival in Hamilton, ON, established in 1988 and developed into one of Canada’s largest classical music festivals. Brott Music is home to the National Academy Orchestra of Canada, a unique professional training Orchestra, conceived by Brott and recognized as a national training program by the federal government. In 2015, he founded BrottOpera to fill the cultural void left in Hamilton, Ontario when its opera company folded and also features an emerging professional artist program.
Internationally, Mr. Brott has served as Assistant Conductor to the New York Philharmonic under Leonard Bernstein, and as Music Director and Conductor of the Royal ballet, Covent Garden (two years), Northern Sinfonia (five years) and the BBC Welsh Symphony (seven years). In 2000, Mr. Brott conducted Leonard Bernstein’s Mass for Pope John Paul II at the Vatican as part of Jubilee 2000. In May 2014, he conducted a concert at the Vatican for Pope Francis, celebrating the 97th birthday of Cardinal Domenico Bartolucci, Music Director of the Sistine Chapel for 45 years. He is Conductor Emeritus of the New West Symphony in Los Angeles, which he developed and was Founding Music Director.
In Canada, he has developed no less than six Canadian Orchestras, most notably the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, where he was Music Director for 23 years. There, he transformed not only the orchestra, but the City of Hamilton itself. He was at the forefront of making over the City’s identity from “Steeltown” to cultural and musical hub. He helped to oversee the planning, acoustics and construction of the world-class performance venue Hamilton Place, built in 1973 (now known as First Ontario Concert Hall). Internationally renowned musicians from all genres including Jascha Haifetz and Harry Belafonte came to the City regularly to perform with Boris, rock bands like Tranquility Base featuring Ian Thomas were in-residence, and The Canadian Brass was formed. Brott and his orchestra received international media attention when they performed in the blast furnaces of Dofasco Steel Mill with Maestro, orchestra and onlookers outfitted in hard hats as they played. He was also Principal Youth and Family Conductor of the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra for decades.
In the 2000s, he was a sought-after Maestro in Italy’s most famed theatres and opera houses, where he conducted many full operas in addition to symphonic repertoire. He served as Principal Guest Conductor at the famed Teatro Petruzzelli in Bari. In Trieste, he conducted regularly at the opera house Teatro Verdi and made guest appearances at Naples’ Teatro San Carlo and performed regularly at the world famous Arena di Verona, culminating in 13 performances of Bizet’s Carmen in its famous amphitheatre.
Mr. Brott has received many awards, accolades, and distinctions throughout his career. In 1987, he was made Officer of the Order of Canada. He was awarded an Honourary Doctor of Law in 1988 at McMaster University, was made a Knight of Malta in 1990, selected as “International Man of the Year” by the International Biographical Centre, in Cambridge England in 1992 and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts of Great Britain in 1996. In December 2006, he was inducted into the Order of Ontario, Canada, the province’s highest civilian decoration and in November 2007, the National Child Day Award for introducing over 2 million young people to classical music. In November 2013 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Music from his alma mater, McGill University. In June 2014 he was inducted by Premier Phillipe Couillard as an Officer in the Order National du Quebec, his native Province. In 2007, he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by Tourism Hamilton. and was the recipient of the National Child Day Award for his work in introducing classical music to nearly 2 million children in the course of his career. In 2006, Boris was voted one of the top five “Greatest Hamiltonians of All Time” by Hamilton Spectator readers.
Boris Brott has a commitment to the development of new audiences and young artists. In 2015 Boris Brott and the NAO joined local rock group Arkells at their live performance at the Juno Awards. He also introduced a program called Orchestrate Hamilton, which involves collaborating with local artists and orchestrating their original music for performance. He has developed a corollary career as a motivational speaker giving presentations annually to Fortune 500 companies around the world linking music and business. The speeches centre on the teamwork, creativity, and leadership.
Mr. Brott is married to Ardyth Webster Brott an attorney and author of several children’s books, including The Loneliest Piano, Jeremy’s Decision and Pepe’s Journey. They are proud parents of three, doting grandparents to four, and reside in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.