Fonds RC0118 - Boris Brott fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

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Boris Brott fonds

General material designation

  • Multiple media

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  • 1931-2019 (Creation)
    Brott, Boris.

Physical description area

Physical description

22.01 m of textual records
8,825 photographs
339 moving images
486 sound recordings
10 floppy disks
1 zip disk
50 CDs

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Name of creator


Biographical history

Boris Brott, conductor, violinist, and producer, was born in Montreal on 14 Mar 1944, the son of renowned conductor and composer Alexander Brott and cellist Lotte (Goetzel) Brott. He studied violin with his father and performed at the age of five with the orchestra of the Les Concerts symphoniques de Montréal (Montreal Symphony Orchestra). He studied at the Conservatoire de musique du Québec à Montréal and the McGill Conservatory. In 1959 he founded the Philharmonic Youth Orchestra of Montreal and led it in his conducting debut in that city. His first international success came in June 1962, when he won third prize at the Liverpool Competition.

Brott has held the following positions:
1963-1965 Assistant conductor to Walter Susskind with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra
1964-1968 First conductor of the Northern Sinfonia at Newcastle-on-Tyne.
1964-1967 Principal conductor for the touring company of the Royal Ballet Covent Garden.
1968-1969 Assistant conductor to Leonard Bernstein with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.
1967-1972 Directed >Lakehead Symphony Orchestra
1971-1973 Directed Regina Symphony Orchestra
1969-1990 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.
1972 Appointed conductor of the BBC Welsh Orchestra
1975 Assumed directorship of the CBC Winnipeg Orchestra
1982 to 1985 Artistic director and conductor of Symphony Nova Scotia
1983-1991 Led the Ontario Place Pops Orchestra
1987-1989 National president of the Youth and Music Canada (Jeunesses musicales du Canada)
1988 Founded (with his wife, author and attorney Ardyth Webster Brott) the Boris Brott Summer Music Festival in Hamilton
1989 Appointed associate director of Alexander Brott’s McGill Chamber Orchestra
1989 Founded the National Academy Orchestra of Canada, a mentor-apprentice program.
1995 Appointed music director of the New West Symphony, California
2002 Assumed leadership of McGill Chamber Orchestra
2004 Appointed principal conductor of youth and education concerts for the National Arts Centre

In addition, Brott has been guest conductor of symphonies and opera companies throughout Canada, Europe, the U.S., Israel, central and South America, Japan and Korea. Brott has 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. In 1988 he received an honorary doctorate from McMaster University. 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.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The fonds consists of correspondence, photographs, printed and audio-visual materials which document Brott’s life and career. There is also some material related to his parents and his brother, Denis, a cellist.
The materials are mainly in English although there is some French, Italian and Spanish.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

The first accrual (07-2010) was acquired in 2010; the second accrual (17-2011) was acquired in 2011; the third accrual (2013-048) was acquired in 2013; the fourth accrual (2014-005) was acquired in 2014; the fifth accrual (2015-003) was acquired in 2015; the sixth accrual (2015-051) was acquired in 2015; the seventh accrual (2018-003) was acquired in 2018; the eighth accrual (2019-022) was acquired in 2019, all from Boris Brott


The first accrual has been arranged into six series: Series 1: Correspondence; Series 2: Photographs; Series 3: Programmes, posters and other printed materials; Series 4: Scrapbooks; Series 5: Scripts, writing, reports, awards and personal items; Series 6 Audio-visual. The 6th accrual includes 4 series: office files, scrapbooks, concert programs, and personal documents.

The second accrual has been arranged in five series: Series 1: Correspondence; Series 2: Programmes; Series 3: Sponsorship and press Information, promotional material, appointment calendars, scrap books, posters, published materials; Series 4: Broadcast scripts, musical scores, poetry; Series 5: Photographs, art work, audio materials and realia.

The third accrual has been arranged into 6 series: correspondence; personal; general files; education concerts; photographs, art work, realia and video and scrapbooks.

The fourth accrual has been arranged into 2 series: general office files and posters and graphic art.

The fifth accrual has been arranged into 4 series: correspondence, general files, photographs and graphic.

The seventh accrual has four series: Office Files; Personal Files; Scrapbooks; and Videos and Audio Recordings.

The eighth accrual has four series: textual records; audio-visual material; sound recordings; and oversized sheet music and posters.

Language of material

  • English
  • French
  • Italian
  • Spanish

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There are no access restrictions.

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8th accrual, 2020, C. Long

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