The conductor who put Hamilton on the cultural map in Canada in the 1970’s and 1980’s has died as the result of a hit and run accident. Boris Brott was 78 years old and Hamilton Police say he was struck while walking near his home in the Durand Neighbourhood. The tragic sequence of circumstances began when police were called about a car driving on the wrong side of the road. on the Hamilton Mountain. Dispatchers issued an all car broadcast requesting patrol officers to look out for the vehicle.
20 minutes later the car was on Park Avenue South at Markland Street where Mr. Brott was struck while walking. He was transported to hospital and later succumbed to his injuries. The driver fled the scene and was arrested on Elmwood Avenue near Garth Street. Three police officers and the accused were taken to hospital for injuries. SIU has now invoked their mandate as a result of the injury incurred during the arrest.
Born in to a distinguished musical family in Montreal, Boris Brott studied violin with his father, and performed at the age of five with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra at a young peoples’ matinee. He took courses at the Conservatoire de musique du Québec à Montréal and the McGill Conservatory, and in 1956 studied conducting at the summer school of Pierre Monteux, who engaged him as assistant for concerts in Europe. In 1959, at the age of 15, he founded the Philharmonic Youth Orchestra of Montreal and led it in his conducting debut in that city.
From 1969 to 1990 Brott was artistic director and conductor of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, which grew from an amateur ensemble to a professional one with a 42-week season and 16,000 subscribers.
In 1988, he founded the Brott Music Festival, which has since become Canada’s largest orchestral music festival. It is a major cultural event in Hamilton and surrounding areas for the months of July and August. From that, he created the National Academy Orchestra of Canada, recognized in 1999 as a National School by the Department of Canadian Heritage. The NAO pairs music graduates pursuing a career with professional musicians from North American orchestras in a mentor-apprentice relationship. It is Canada’s only professional training orchestra and has graduated about 1,000 musicians.
Boris Brott fulfilled many guest conductor assignments in Italy in recent years and was also a motivational speaker.