‘Our beloved maestro’: Hamilton mourns the death of famed conductor Boris Brott


There’s a black-and-white photo of Boris Brott in a crisp white coat and eye-catching bow tie, his baton raised, surrounded by a helmet-wearing orchestra and an audience of steelworkers.

It is a scene that seems to sum up in perfect harmony the character of the famous conductor and that of the city he loved.

“Who can forget when he brought classical music directly to the workers of Hamilton with an orchestral performance in the Dofasco workshop?” said Mayor Fred Eisenberger, referring to this photo, at the start of a committee meeting on Wednesday morning.

Hamilton is mourning the loss of “our beloved maestro,” the mayor said in a statement after news broke on Tuesday that the 78-year-old had been killed in a hit and run.

Brott was artistic director and conductor of the Orchester Classique de Montréal at the time of his death.

Tributes for the creative talent and his years of service to classical music pour in from across Canada.

Hamilton is “in a state of shock and grief”, said Eisenberger, who described the loss as “incomprehensible”.

“He was not only a giant in the classical music industry, but also a giant in promoting and building Hamilton,” the mayor said.

“His efforts over the decades have helped our community reach new heights.”

The Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra (HPO), where Brott once served as musical director, also shared his grief.

“He was a true creative force in the Canadian orchestral community and his contributions to the HPO and the wider Hamilton community had an enormous impact,” the HPO said in a statement.

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, MPP for Hamilton Center, said she was “heartbroken” by Brott’s death.

“He shared his love of music with [Hamilton] and the world,” she said on Twitter.

Hamilton-born actor Eugene Levy said he was among the mourners, saying “Brott’s brilliance as a maestro was surpassed only by his kindness as a man”.

The Hamilton Music Collective said they were “devastated” by his loss.

“His warmth as a human being and his passion for music has been an inspiration to all of us,” he said on Twitter.

A makeshift memorial was forming Wednesday morning at the site where Brott was shot.

A bouquet of flowers and a single tulip lay on the sidewalk next to candles in a vase.

Circles of chalk, drawn by police around evidence markers the day before, were strewn across the street.

Ongoing investigations

Investigators said the sequence of events that led to the fatal collision began after receiving a 911 call reporting a vehicle driving on the wrong side of the road on Hamilton Mountain around 10 a.m. ET on Tuesday.

About 20 minutes later, a 78-year-old man was hit near the corner of Park Street South and Markland Street, police said. He was taken to hospital where he died of his injuries.

Composer Boris Brott was born in Montreal and revered in Hamilton, where he once served as Music Director of the city’s Philharmonic Orchestra. He was killed in a hit-and-run in the city of Ontario on Tuesday. (Brott Music Festival / Instagram)

According to the police, the driver fled. Officers arrested a suspect on Elmwood Avenue near Garth Street, about a six-minute drive away.

According to the police, three officers and the suspect were injured and taken to hospital.

Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) is investigating. He says officers spotted a vehicle that had been involved in an accident and followed it, trying to arrest the driver.

The vehicle rammed several police cars before the driver was arrested, according to the SIU.

Three investigators and a forensic investigator from the SIU have been assigned to the case. But the police watchdog says its investigation is focused on the interaction between police and the driver, not the fatal collision.

Brott loved Hamilton and ‘we loved him back’

As investigations continue, Eisenberger shared his condolences for Brott’s family and loved ones, and said a celebration of his life and contribution to music will take place, although no details have yet been announced. been shared.

Brott may have been born in Montreal, but Eisenberger said he was a real Hamiltonian.

From a performance in the studio to annual concerts that have inspired thousands of children and music lovers, the notes he left behind still play across town.

“He brought Hamilton an unparalleled sense of style and sophistication,” Eisenberger said, adding that Brott loved the city and “we loved him back.”