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Alexander Brott: Biography

Alexander Brott
1915 - 2005
Region: Ontario

Alexander Brott

Born in Montreal on March 14, 1915, Alexander Brott became passionately devoted to music at age 7. He later became the head of one of Canada’s most accomplished musical families: cellist/wife Lotte who pre-deceased him, conductor Boris and cellist/conductor Denis.

His son, Boris Brott said: "Over the last 7 years since my mother’s passing, I have had the privilege of knowing my father in greater depth. Helping him in the writing and publishing of his autobiography Alexander Brott, My Lives in Music, and encouraging his professional life through the McGill Chamber Orchestra and commissioning and performing his music, I have had the wonderful opportunity of getting to know a unique and specially creative and curious person."

As violinist Alexander Brott was concertmaster of the Montreal Orchestra, Les Concerts symphoniques de Montréal and the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal from 1945 to 1958. He was appointed a member of the Faculty of Music at McGill University where, from 1939 until his retirement in 1980, he was Professor, Conductor-in-Residence and Head of the department of Orchestral Instruments.

As composer his work numbers over 100 compositions, many of which have been performed across Europe and North America by leading conductors Otto Klemperer, Sir Thomas Beecham, Pierre Monteux, Leopold Stokowski, Sir Ernest MacMillan, Charles Munch, Sir Malcolm Sargent and Charles Dutoit. The NAC Orchestra has performed his compositions including Arabesque, Circle, Triangle, 4 Squares, and Paraphrase in Polyphony. He conducted the NAC Orchestra in an all-Canadian programme in 1970. A seven-disc anthology of his music was issued by Radio-Canada in 1985.

Brott was the Founder and Music Director of the McGill Chamber Orchestra, currently celebrating its 65th season. The Orchestra has toured and recorded extensively.

For fifteen years Brott conducted the Kingston Symphony Orchestra. He created Les Concerts Populaires de Montréal, an annual pop concerts series at Maurice-Richard Arena, in cooperation with the City of Montréal, and established a training orchestra, Les Jeunes Virtuoses de Montréal.

Among his numerous awards are; the Bronze medal for Composition at the Olympics in London 1948 and Helsinki 1952, The Canadian Music Council Medal 1976, Member of the Order of Canada 1979, Chevalier de L’Ordre Nationale de Québec 1987, The Association of Canadian Orchestras Award 1990, Canada 125 and Queen’s Jubilee Medal. He received doctorates in music from the universities of Chicago and Montreal, an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from Queen's University, a Fellowship in the London Royal Society of Arts and the Sir Arnold Bax Society Gold Medal for "Composer of the Commonwealth".

In March 2005, on the occasion of his 90th birthday, his memoirs, My Lives In Music (Brott & Nygaard King, Mosaic Press), were published.

April 2005 - NACO

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