Tributes are pouring in following news of the death of maestro Boris Brott, artistic director and conductor of the Orchestre classique de Montréal, who died Tuesday after a hit and run in Hamilton. He was 78.
The orchestra shared the news in a Facebook post that called him its “heart and soul.”
“The entire OCM family is in a state of shock and disbelief,” the orchestra’s leadership said in the post.
“[He was] an extraordinary ambassador of classical music, recognized beyond our borders, a mentor to countless young musicians and a very dear friend to many among them. His sudden death leaves a deep void in the music community and a great sadness in our hearts.”
WATCH | Brott at work in 2013:
Brott was a titan of classical music, both in Canada and internationally. Born in 1944, he was the founding artistic director of its Brott Music Festival and the National Academy Orchestra, a training orchestra that is also based in the city.
“He will be sorely missed by all who appreciated his unsurpassed talent and by those who loved him,” the Brott Music Festival said in a Facebook post.
Brott, who performed for Pope Francis more than once, also held posts in Europe and the United States during his storied career. He became an officer of the Order of Canada in 1986.
“The Brott Family is musical royalty in Canada, and it has been one of my greatest honours to know them as friends and to work with Boris over a period of almost 20 years,” classical pianist Sara Davis Buechner wrote on Facebook. Buechner recalled performing Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto with Brott in the fall.
“My condolences go out to all of Boris Brott’s family, friends all over the world, and the many who were fortunate to hear his exalted performances during the course of a long and fantastically creative life.”
Brott began his life in Montreal. His father was Alexander Brott, a violinist and composer who founded the orchestra that became the OCM. His mother was cellist Lotte Brott, and his younger brother is cellist Denis Brott.
A motivational speaker and cultural ambassador, Brott was also a member of the Order of Ontario and an officer of the Order of Quebec.
Brott received an honorary doctorate from the Schulich School of Music at McGill University in 2013.
I’m heartbroken at the tragic loss of visionary Canadian conductor, Boris Brott. From the National Academy Orchestra of Canada to Brott Music Festival and beyond, he shared his love of music with <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/HamOnt?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#HamOnt</a> and the world.<br><br>Thinking of Ardyth and the family as they grieve this loss.