2004 Cultural Cultural

Denis Brott, who was born in Montreal on December 9, 1950, is internationally recognized as one of Canada’s greatest musicians. He teaches cello and chamber music at the Montreal Conservatory of Music and also directs the Young Virtuosi, a training orchestra for young professionals who play string instruments.

The list of great musicians with whom he has studied reads like a pantheon of the world’s most accomplished musicians. Among his teachers are Leonard Rose at the Juilliard School of Music, Janos Starker at the University of Indiana and Gregor Piatigorsky at the University of Southern California. When he was still very young, Denis Brott won numerous awards and distinctions, including the Munich International Cello Competition; the Merriweather Post Competition; the Montreal Symphony Orchestra Competition; the Young Musicians’ Foundation Debut Award; and the New York Affiliate Artists Award. He has performed as soloist with all the great Canadian orchestras, under the baton of such eminent conductors as Zubin Mehta, Franz Paul Decker, Mario Bernardi, and Yoav Talmi.

Denis Brott conceived and set up the Montreal Chamber Music Festival, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. The festival presents great music in historic sites so that it takes on an architectural dimension as well as an environment that enhances its non-verbal message. Every spring, internationally-renowned Canadian musicians, together with instrumentalists from other countries, meet to perform an eclectic program of chamber music. The festival has forged an innovative alliance between the City of Montreal, corporate sponsors, and advertisers.  The Conseil québécois de la musique has rewarded the festival with two Opus Prizes: as Broadcaster of the Year in 1999, and in the category of Concert of the Year in 2000.

In 1987, Denis Brott played a prominent role in the creation of Canada’s Musical Instrument Bank, from which he enjoys a lifetime’s use of a magnificent cello, signed by David Tecchler, and dated 1706.  The Musical Instrument Bank now owns more than a dozen instruments that are loaned to recognized or deserving young Canadian musicians who perform around the world.

Not only is Denis Brott a dedicated chamber musician who has won two Juno Awards and a Grand Prix du Disque, he has performed for almost ten years with the Orford String Quartet, with whom he has recorded the complete string quartets of Beethoven. Among his many recordings must also be mentioned the complete sonatas for cello and piano by Brahms, which received Quebec’s ADISQ Award.  In addition, Denis Brott has written many articles in publications such as Strad Magazine, Orchestras Canada, University of Toronto Alumni Magazine and the Violoncello Society of New York.