Denis Brott CM (born December 9, 1950) is a Canadian cellist,[1] music teacher, and founder and artistic director of the Montreal Chamber Music Festival.>[2]

Early life and educationEdit

Brott was born in Montreal, into a family of professional musicians; he is the son of the violinist and composer Alexander Brott and cellist Lotte Brott.[2] He studied cello with Walter Joachim at the Conservatoire de musique du Québec à Montréal from 1959 to 1967. From 1964 to 1968 he studied with Leonard Rose at The Juilliard School in New York. From 1968 to 1971 he continued his training with Janos Starker at the Indiana University in Bloomington, after which he studied with Gregor Piatigorsky at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, until 1975, acting as Piatigorsky's assistant for part of his four years there.


As a young man Brott performed as a cellist; in 1973 he won second Prize in the Munich International Cello Competition. In 1975 he became a Professor of Cello and Chamber Music at the North Carolina School of the Arts. In 1978 he became a professor at the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan, [3]where he taught until 1980, when he joined the University of Toronto Faculty of Music, serving there until 1989.

In 1985, 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 loaned him a 1706 David Tecchler cello for his lifetime use.[4]

Since 1989 he has been Professor of Cello and Chamber Music at the Conservatoire de musique du Québec à Montréal. His concert tours have taken him to four continents and he has performed at many festivals, including Marlboro, Sitka, Santa Barbara, Banff, and Toronto. He was artistic director of Festival of the Sound in 1991.

Brott taught at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California from 1992 until 2001. During that time he served as an international jurist at the Evian International String Quartet Competition in 1993, the Munich International ARD String Quartet Competition in 1996 and 2008, the CBC Radio National Competition for Young Performers in 1997, and the Munich International ARD Cello Competition in 1998.

Brott performed for eight years with the Orford String Quartet [5] during which time he recorded 25 chamber music discs. In 1986 the quartet was named Ensemble of the Year by the Canadian Music Council, and their recordings of the complete string quartets of Beethoven won the Grand Prix du Disque Award in 1998 and two Juno Awards (1985, 1987) for Best Chamber Ensemble Classical Recording. Brott appeared as a guestmusician with the Emerson, Tokyo and St. Lawrence String Quartets.

Brott also recorded as a solo artist; the best known of these recordings is the three Brahms Sonatas for cello and piano and Homage to Piatigorsky.

The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal selected Brott as one of four Great Montrealers in 2004, presenting him with the Award for Culture.[6]

Brott held the cello chair at the Musicorda Chamber Music Institute and Festival in 2005. A recent project involves bringing music classes to Montreal area high schools, mixing classical music with rap and break dancing.

Montreal Chamber Music FestivalEdit

In 1990, Brott moved back to Montreal, with plans to make classical music more accessible to the public by developing an international chamber music festival. His idea gain the approval of then mayor of Montreal, Pierre Bourque. It was decided to hold the festival at The Chalet situated atop Mont Royal, half of which had been made into a park in 1876.

In 1995, the first Montreal Chamber Music Festival was held at The Chalet, with Brott as the festival's artistic director.[7] The festival organizers sought out historic locations for the performances, and planned a program of performances by internationally known chamber music artists and chamber music ensembles. The aim was to allow promising young chamber music artists to interact with established musicians and to acquire experience essential to the development of their careers, and to promote exchanges between Canadian and foreign chamber music artists, and meanwhile enhance the stature of Montreal as a centre for cultural and artistic activities.

In 2006, the Festival organized a rejuvenation project in downtown Montreal, known as the "Quartier des festivals". At that time, the Festival moved to the historic St. James United Church, which had become an acoustically desirable venue after the installation of specially designed panels.

In 2012 Brott performed in Orange County, California with pianist Kevin Kwan Loucks.[8]

As of 2014, Brott continues to be the artistic director of the festival.[9]



  • 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. National Arts Centre Orchestra 25th Anniversary, (National Arts Centre Orchestra, Mario Bernardi, conductor). Tchaikovsky Variations on a Rococo Theme, Op. 33
  • 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 . Schubert Introduction, Theme & Variations, Opus 82 #2 {Charles Reiner, piano), Strauss Sonata in F Major, Opus 6 (Rebecca Penneys, piano)

Chamber music with Orford String QuartetEdit

  • 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. (CBC Vancouver Orchestra, Simon Streatfeild, conductor), Elgar Introduction & Allegro, Mercure Divertissement, Vaughan Williams Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis
  • Freedman Chalumeau: Centrediscs CNCO 983. (James Campbell, clarinet)
  • CTL S5256 . Glick String Quartet #1: Prevost Ahimsa, (Robert Aitken, flute; Sandra Graham, mezzo-soprano; Elmer Iseler Singers), Haydn Serenade, Opus 3 #5, Mozart Serenade (Eine Kleine Nachtmusik), *Riley Concerto for String Quartet & Woodwind Doubler, (Moe Koffman, flute, saxophone, clarinet)
  • CBC RCI550Hetu 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. Borodin Nocturne & Scherzo from Quartet #2, Dvorak Waltz, Opus 54 #1, Foster (arr. Pochon) Old Black Joe, Gagnon Tango, Gershwin Lullaby, Haydn Serenade from Quartet, Opus 3 #5, Lennon-McCartney (arr. Wilkins) Yesterday, MacMillan A Saint Malo, Puccini Crisantemi
  • 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


  1. ^ "Denis Brott, Cellist From Canada". The New York Times, Allen Hughes, March 3, 1979
  2. ^ a b "Densi Brott". Biography in The Canadian Encyclopedia
  3. ^ The Music Journal. 36-37. Hampton International Communications. 1978. p. 27.
  4. ^ "Stradivarius on Stage". La Scena Musicale, by Jean-Sébastien Gascon / June 5, 2004
  5. ^ "Orford String Quartet". The Canadian Encyclopedia, by Susan Spier, Robin Elliott, Barry J. Edwards, March 25, 2013
  6. ^ Award article at the Great Montrealers website
  7. ^ American Record Guide. American Record Guide. 1999. p. 50.
  8. ^ "Pianist, cellist perform at Orange County Great Park". Orange County Register, Jeff Antenore | February 3, 2012
  9. ^ " Musical Conversation: Denis Brott". VPR Classical, By Kari Anderson • May 7, 2014

External linksEdit