Biography

Founder, Executive and Artistic Director of the internationally renowned Montreal Chamber Music Festival (1995) and Professor at the Conservatoire de musique du Québec à Montréal (1989), cellist Denis Brott is recognized internationally as one of Canada’s finest performing musicians.

The list of his teachers includes some of the world’s best cellists: Leonard Rose at the Juilliard School of Music (1964-1968), Janos Starker at Indiana University (1968-1971), and Gregor Piatigorsky at the University of Southern California (1971-1975).  Mr. Brott’s career began 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, Toronto, Ottawa, Parry Sound and Banff.

His many solo recordings include the three Brahms Sonatas for cello and piano and Homage to Piatigorsky, perhaps his best known recording. It received this accolade from Yo-Yo Ma:  “His playing throughout is exemplary, full of the rich sound and technical wizardry the master exemplified.  I think Piatigorsky would be proud.”

He has appeared as soloist with such great conductors as Zubin Mehta, Franz-Paul Decker, Mario Bernardi and Yoav Talmi. He has also appeared as guest cellist with such distinguished quartets as the Guarneri, Emerson, Tokyo and Fine Arts.

A devoted chamber musician, Denis Brott spent eight years in the Orford String Quartet (1980 – 1988) during which time he recorded 25 CD’s.  Especially acclaimed were the recordings of the complete string quartets of Beethoven on the Delos label, which won the Grand Prix du Disque (1988) and two Juno Awards (1985, 1987) for Best Chamber Ensemble Classical Recording. Denis has also appeared as guest with prestigious ensembles including the Guarneri, Emerson, Tokyo and Fine Arts String Quartets.

In 1985, Denis Brott played a pivotal role in the creation of the Canada Council for the Arts Musical Instrument Bank which gave him a magnificent 1706 David Tecchler cello for his lifetime use. The cello is now named the Brott-Turner Tecchler after Denis and William Turner, philanthropist and former CEO of Consolidated Bathurst, who helped raise funds to establish the Instrument Bank.

Since 1989, Denis Brott has been a professor at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal. Previous teaching posts include the Interlochen Arts Academy (1978-1980), the University of Toronto (1980-1989), and the Music Academy of the West (1992-2001), as well as residencies at Toronto Summer Music (2008), The Banff Centre (2009, 2012), and the cello chair at the Musicorda Chamber Music Institute and Festival (2005). He is published in Strad Magazine, Orchestras Canada, University of Toronto Alumni Magazine, and the Violoncello Society of New York.

A respected juror, Denis has served on the jury of the Munich International ARD Cello Competition (1998), the Munich International ARD String Quartet Competition (1996, 2008) and the preliminary jury of the Banff International String Quartet Competition (2010).  In August 2013 he was invited by the Banff Competition to give a special lecture entitled The Emotional Language of Beethoven as part of their closing day festivities. 

Denis Brott received the Great Montrealer Award for his contribution to culture from the city of Montreal, Chamber of Commerce in 2004 and in 2012 he received the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of his contribution to Canada.  In 2014 he and the Montreal Chamber Music Festival were awarded the Montreal Centre-Ville “Event of the Year” award.

In 2015 the Governor General of Canada announced that Denis Brott will receive the prestigious Order of Canada to recognize his outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation.

In August 2016 Denis Brott will be on the jury of the Banff International String Quartet Competition.