Famous Canadian conductor Boris Brott killed in hit-and-run in Hamilton

Boris Brott, the artistic director of the Orchester Classique de Montreal, died on Tuesday after a hit-and-run in Hamilton that led to the driver’s arrest shortly after and the injury of three police officers.

Brott, a renowned bandleader and motivational speaker with deep ties to Hamilton, was 78.

“It is with the heaviest of hearts that we announce the sudden and tragic passing of Canada’s one and only musical genius and artistic visionary Boris Brott,” the Brott Music Festival said in a statement posted on its afternoon account. Instagram.

The conductor founded the festival and his wife, Ardyth, is its executive director.

“He will be sadly missed by all who appreciated his unparalleled talent and by those who loved him…As family and staff process this unthinkable news, we ask for confidentiality at this time,” the festival statement read.

SIU Investigating

Hamilton police reported a hit-and-run incident earlier Tuesday in the city’s Durand neighborhood, later saying a 78-year-old man had died. They did not confirm Brott’s identity, but told CBC there were no other fatal collisions with pedestrians in the city on Tuesday.

Police say someone called 911 at 10 a.m. ET about a vehicle driving on the wrong side of the road on Hamilton Mountain.

“Dispatchers played a broadcast for all cars asking patrol officers to watch the vehicle,” a police news release said.

At approximately 10:20 a.m. a man was hit on Park Street South at Markland Street.

Police said he was taken to hospital, but later died.

A police chase following the incident sparked an investigation by Ontario police watchdog the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) after three officers and the driver were injured.

Police said the driver left the scene but was arrested at Elmwood Avenue near Garth Street.

The three officers and the accused were taken to hospital, police said.

The Hamilton Police Reconstruction Unit is investigating the collision and police were using a drone at the scene.

CBC Hamilton is awaiting further details from police and the SIU.

Tributes are pouring in

Reaction and tributes to Brott’s death began pouring in shortly after news of his death was announced.

“So sorry to hear of the tragic passing of Boris Brott. He was a great musical ambassador for the City of Hamilton. A great loss,” Hamilton’s Junior Boys wrote on Twitter.

“Absolutely shocked and saddened by the news of Boris Brott’s passing. He was a Canadian treasure and his visionary musical talent made all Hamiltonians proud,” said Sandy Shaw, MPP for Hamilton.

The Brott Music Festival was started in 1988 in Hamilton. He said Brott developed six Canadian orchestras, including the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, where he was music director for 23 years. In 1987, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.

The Orchester Classique de Montreal issued a statement, saying it was “shocked and in disbelief.”

“Boris Brott was the heart and soul of the Orchester Classique de Montréal, an extraordinary ambassador of classical music, recognized beyond our borders, a mentor to countless young musicians and a very dear friend to many between them. His sudden passing leaves a deep, empty imprint on the music community and great sadness in our hearts,” the statement read.

Tuesday’s hit-and-run marks Hamilton’s seventh accident resulting in the death of a pedestrian this year.

This incident is one of a series of collisions that have killed elderly people.

Police said anyone who saw Tuesday’s incident or has video can contact Detective Sergeant. Catherine Lockley at 905-546-3833.