Denis Brott

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Denis Brott CM (born December 9, 1950) is a Canadian cellist, music teacher, and Founder & Artistic Director of the award winning Montreal Chamber Music Festival.[1][2] He was born in Montreal, and he is the son of the violinist and composer Alexander Brott and cellist Lotte Brott.

Early years[edit]

Denis Brott was born in Montreal into a family of professional musicians.[2]

Formal Training[edit]

  • 1959-67: He started his training with Walter Joachim at the Conservatoire de musique du Québec à Montréal.
  • 1964-68 He studied with Leonard Rose at The Juilliard School in New York.
  • 1968-71: He continued his training with Janos Starker at the Indiana University in Bloomington.
  • 1971-75: He concluded his studies with Gregor Piatigorsky at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, acting as Piatigorsky's assistant for part of his four years there.

Musical career[edit]

International attention came to Mr. Brott in 1973 when he won 2nd Prize in the Munich International Cello Competition. His concert tours have taken him to four continents and numerous festivals including Marlboro, Sitka, Santa Barbara, Banff, Festival of the Sound, where he was Artistic Director in 1991, and Toronto. He is a sought after member of international juries including the Evian International String Quartet Competition (1993), the CBC Radio National Competition for Young Performers (1997), the Munich International ARD Cello Competition (1998), and the Munich International ARD String Quartet Competition (1996, 2008).

Chamber music being his calling, Denis Brott spent eight years in the Orford String Quartet [3] during which time he recorded 25 chamber music discs. Especially acclaimed were the recordings of the complete string quartets of Beethoven, which won the Grand Prix du Disque Award (1988) and two Juno Awards (1985, 1987) for Best Chamber Ensemble Classical Recording. In 1986 the Orford String Quartet was named Ensemble of the Year by the Canadian Music Council. Denis has appeared as guest with numerous ensembles including the Emerson, Tokyo and St. Lawrence String Quartets.

His many solo recordings include the three Brahms Sonatas for cello and piano and Homage to Piatigorsky, perhaps his best known recording.

Denis Brott picked up the Great Montrealer Award for Culture. The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal selected Denis as one of four Great Montrealers in 2004 who have marked the history of Montreal and have distinguished themselves in each of the following sectors: economic, cultural, social and scientific.[4]

Teaching career[edit]

Denis Brott has been an educator in the field of music for most of his life. He has been Professor of Cello and Chamber Music at the North Carolina School of the Arts (1975–1977), the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan (1978–1980), the University of Toronto Faculty of Music (1980–1989), and the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California (1992–2001). He held the cello chair at the Musicorda Chamber Music Institute and Festival (2005). A recent project involves bringing music classes to Montreal area high schools, mixing classical music with rap and break dancing. Mr. Brott is currently Professor of Cello and Chamber Music at the Conservatoire de musique du Québec à Montréal (1989).

Instrument Bank[edit]

In 1985, Denis Brott played a pivotal role in the creation of the Canada Council for the Arts Musical Instrument Bank which collects fine, rare string instruments to lend to Canadian musicians. In recognition of his efforts, the Instrument Bank gave him a magnificent 1706 David Tecchler cello for his lifetime use.[5]

Montreal Chamber Music Festival[edit]

In 1990, Denis Brott moved back to his birthplace, Montreal. Denis wanted to pursue the concept of having classical music more accessible to the public, along the lines of an international chamber music festival. He approached then mayor of Montreal, Pierre Bourque, and got a very favourable reaction to the idea. It was decided to hold the festival at The Chalet situated atop Mont Royal. Half of this was made into a park in 1876. Frederick Law Olmsted who designed Central Park in New York City was commissioned to landscape the new park. In 1995, the first Montreal Chamber Music Festival was held at The Chalet.

Mr. Brott has been the Festival's Artistic Director since its inception. The mandate of the Festival is to organize an annual internationally acclaimed chamber music festival which would be held in historic locations, present internationally renowned chamber music artists and chamber music ensembles, promote the discovery of young and aspiring chamber music artists, allow promising young chamber music artists to interact with established musicians and to acquire experience essential to the development of their careers, promote exchanges between internationally renowned Canadian and foreign chamber music artists and enhance the stature of Montreal as a center for the promotion of cultural and artistic activities.

In 2006, the Festival spearheaded a rejuvenation project in the heart of Montreal, known as the "Quartier des festivals". At that time, the Festival moved to the historic St. James United Church. With hand designed panels, the church is now an acoustically outstanding venue.



  • 3 Sonatas for Cello & Piano: Analekta AN2 9901 (Glen Montgomery, piano)
    • Johannes Brahms
    • Sonata in E Minor, Opus 38
    • Sonata in D Major, Opus 78
    • Sonata in F Major, Opus 99
  • Remembering Piatigorsky: Analekta FL2 3035
    • (Samuel Sanders, piano; Tony Randall, narrator; Evan Drachman, 2nd cello)
    • Beglarian "Of Fables, Foibles & Fancies"
    • Haydn Divertimento
    • Menotti Suite for 2 Cellos & Piano
    • Piatigorsky Syrinx for Solo Cello
    • Piatigorsky Promenade for Solo Cello
    • Piatigorsky Variations on the 24th Caprice of Paganini
  • Celebration: Analekta AN2 7201-2
  • Brott Arabesque for Cello & Orchestra: Analekta ANC 9801
    • (McGill Chamber Orchestra, Boris Brott, conductor)
  • Tribute to Piatigorsky: DFCDI-013
    • (same repertoire as FL2 3035)
  • Anthology of Canadian Music: CBC ACM20
    • Alexander Brott
    • Brott Psalmody for Solo Cello
    • Brott Shofar for Solo Cello
  • Debussy Sonate: CBC SM185

Chamber music[edit]

(recordings are as a member of the Orford String Quartet)

  • The Complete String Quartets of Beethoven: Delos DE 3039
    • Volumes I-VIII
  • Brahms Piano Quintet in F Minor, Opus 34: Sefel SEFD 5019
    • (Gloria Saarinen, piano)
  • Brott "Critic's Corner": SNE 516
    • (Louis Charbonneau, percussion)
    • Brott Songs of Contemplation
    • (Maureen Forrester, mezzo-soprano)
  • Brott Ritual: CBC SMCD 504
  • Freedman Chalumeau: Centrediscs CNCO 983
  • CTL S5256
  • CBC RCI550
    • Hetu String Quaratet, Opus 29
    • Morawetz String Quartet #2
  • Ofra Harnoy & The Orford String Quartet Plays The Beatles: Fanfare DFL 6002
    • (arrangements by Doug Riley)
    • Musica Viva Mozart Quintet in A Major, K. 581
  • Weber Quintet, Opus 34: CBC Musica Viva MVCD1032
    • (James Campbell, clarinet)
  • Orford Encores: Fanfare DFC 7008
  • Moments magiques: FMCM 2 001
    • Juno Award winning album for Best Classical Recording in the Solo/Chamber Music Category
    • Schubert Presto from Trio #2 Opus 100 D929
    • Dvorak Poco adagio and Finale from Trio Opus 65


External links[edit]