Maestro Boris Brott has a long-standing appreciation for the music of Christ Church Cathedral. His father, Alexander, founded the McGill Chamber Orchestra, which has performed regularly at the cathedral for more than fifty years. On the death of his father in 2005, Boris was appointed Artistic Director of the MCO. “I’ve had the good fortune,” he notes, “to work with Music Director and Organist Patrick Wedd and his predecessor, Gerald Wheeler.” Maestro Brott has directed and attended both religious and secular musical events at the Cathedral, including conducting all of Mozart’s church sonatas with the Cathedral’s Karl Wilhelm organ. “It was a bit tricky with the organ located behind the conductor—we had to use several mirrors!” The organ will be maintained and upgraded with funds from the campaign. “With a little bit of help,” says Maestro Brott, “it could be among the finest organs in the city.”
Boris Brott wanted to become involved with the Cathedral’s Major Fundraising Campaign “because the cathedral is not just a beautiful religious icon, but a cultural icon as well. It is centrally located to attract large crowds for concerts, and the acoustics are superb. They are reverberant while still allowing the audience to hear detail, which is especially important for choirs.”
Jewish himself, Brott is married to an Anglican, and “we both adore the Anglican service. When we’re in London, we always go to St. Paul’s. In Montreal the closest we can come to St. Paul’s musically is Christ Church Cathedral.”
More music for young people, please
Coming from a musically talented family, Boris, the elder of Alexander and Lotte Brott’s two sons, was performing at the age of five and conducting at 15. One of his passions is the musical education of young people. He would like to see more concerts produced with young people in mind—either for school groups or on weekends for children and their parents.
There are, however, many opportunities for musical training for young people. Brott reports with delight that each of Montreal’s music schools — McGill University, Université de Montréal, Concordia University and the Conservatoire de musique et d’art dramatique du Québec — turns out “a full orchestra’s worth of musicians every year.”
Montreal a major music city
Opportunities for audiences are also plentiful. When Boris Brott was a teenager, there was one symphony orchestra and one chamber orchestra. Now, he says, rattling them off from memory, there are four chamber orchestras, two symphonies, an opera, several ballet companies, as well as numerous choirs and chamber music ensembles.
On any given night, he notes, audiences can choose from among 20 different concerts. “I believe Montreal has more musical product per capita than any other major city.” Are we in danger of over-production? The maestro thinks not. “There is competition, for sure. That just means we all keep getting better.”
“Among my hopes is that improvements to the building, organ and piano will bring even more people to Christ Church Cathedral for even more ambitious musical concerts.”
BORIS BROTT, O.C., O. Ont., O. Que, D.Mus., LL.D. Artistic Director and Conductor
Maestro Brott is one of the most internationally recognized Canadian conductors, holding major positions as Music Director in Canada and the United States, including with the New York Philharmonic, the Royal Ballet (Covent Garden), the Northern Sinfonia, the BBC Welsh Symphony, the New West Symphony (Los Angeles) and the Petruzzelli Theatre (Bari, Italy). He enjoys an international career as a guest conductor, educator, motivational speaker and cultural ambassador. He was awarded Canada’s highest civic honour, the Officer of the Order of Canada, is a member of the Order of Ontario and the Order of Quebec, and was given an honorary doctorate from McGill’s Schulich School of Music. In addition to his duties as Artistic Director of the McGill Chamber Orchestra, Maestro Brott is currently the founding Artistic Director of the Brott Music Festival in Hamilton, and the National Academy Orchestra, Canada’s only professional training orchestra for young musicians.
The McGill Chamber Orchestra directed by Boris Brott will be performing Handel’s Messiah with soloists Hélène Brunet, Daniel Taylor (an alumnus of Christ Church Cathedral’s choir), Isaiah Bell & Joel Allison.
When: Thursday, November 30, at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Church of St. Andrew & St. Paul, 3415 Redpath Street, Montreal
Tickets: orchestre.ca or 514-487-5190
Christ Church Cathedral Sing-Along Messiah
Fans of The Messiah looking to get in on the action are invited to attend Christ Church Cathedral’s own annual Sing-along Messiah conducted by Patrick Wedd with soloists Catherine St-Arnaud, Florence Bourget, Joé Lampron-Dandonneau and Max Van Wyk.
When: Saturday, December 9, at 4:30 p.m.
Where: Christ Church Cathedral, 635 Ste-Catherine St. West, Montreal
Suggested minimum ‘participation donation’ of $10.
Please bring your own score if you have one.
Support Christ Church Cathedral’s music programs
Of the funds raised during the Major fundraising campaign, $180,000 are earmarked to restore the Karl Wilhelm organ, maximizing its sound quality and range. If you would like to support the cleaning and upgrading of the organ, the Cathedral’s music programs and the replacement of our concert piano, please click here. Big or small, every donation counts!
Have a Say
Have you thrilled to the sound of the Cathedral’s Karl Wilhelm organ? Have you benefited from the Cathedral’s training program? Would you like to share your story? We would love to hear from you! Please contact us at Campaign.Communications@montrealcathedral.ca.
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