Comprised of Alexander (father), Lotte (mother), Denis (son) and Boris (son), the Brott family has had a profound impact on the development and history of classical music in Canada.
Acclaimed cellist Lotte was born in Mannheim, Germany in 1922. She graduated from Switzerland’s Zurich Conservatory in 1939, and moved to Canada that same year, where she studied at the University of Toronto. In Canada, she performed with the MSO, the McGill Chamber Orchestra, and the Little Symphony of Montreal, and taught cello at McGill. Her love of music not only manifested itself through performing and teaching, but through her dedication to organizing various musical events and programs. She organized concerts, did fundraising and PR for McGill and organizations where her husband, Alexander, was the artistic director; she also managed the Kingston Symphony from 1978-81. Lotte was named a Member of the Order of Canada (1990) and a Knight of the Order of Quebec (1996). The McGill Chamber Orchestra set up the Lotte Brott Memorial Fund in her honour, to encourage young musicians.
Born in Montreal to Ashkenazi Jewish parents, Alexander Brott was a composer, conductor, violinist and music teacher. He earned degrees from McGill and Juilliard before beginning his career as a concert violinist in the 1930s. He quickly made a name for himself with his elegant style and technical precision. In 1939, he joined the faculty at McGill, where he founded and pioneered the McGill Chamber Orchestra. He taught there until his retirement in 1980. From 1945-58, he simultaneously lead the Montreal Orchestra, Les Concerts symphoniques de Montréal and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. He was made a Member of the Order of Canada (1979) and a Knight of the National Order of Quebec (1988).
As a couple, Alexander and Lotte co-founded the Concerts Under the Stars series at Mount Royal, and concerts at Maurice Richard Arena.
Their son Boris (b. 1944) is a conductor and founding director of the New West Symphony Orchestra, and their son Denis (b. 1950) is a cellist, music teacher and the founder of the Montreal Chamber Music Festival. Boris has conducted on stages around the world, including Carnegie Hall and Covent Garden, with his trademark innovative, energetic style. He is also known for promoting Canadian musical talent, and commissioning, performing and recording Canadian music. Denis has performed cello throughout the world; he played with the Orford String Quartet for eight years. He recorded a discography of chamber music, including the Grand Prix du Disque Award-winning complete string quartets of Beethoven and the Best Chamber Ensemble Classical Recording, which received two Juno Awards.