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Boris Brott, 'father of the Thunder Bay Symphony,' died after a hit-and-run collision

Brott led the transformation of the TBSO starting in 1967
Boris Brott
Boris Brott led the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra from 1967 to 1972. He died in Hamilton, Ont. on Apr. 5, 2022 (Boris Brott)

THUNDER BAY — Tributes are pouring in for acclaimed Canadian conductor and artistic director Boris Brott following his death in a hit-and-run collision in Hamilton Tuesday.

Former Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra president Paul Inksetter calls Brott the father of the modern TBSO and the person most responsible for what the orchestra is today.

Most recently, the 78-year-old Brott served as the artistic director and conductor of the Orchestre classique de Montréal.

In a statement, the orchestra described him as a renowned leader in the world of classical music in North America and beyond.

Among his numerous accomplishments, Brott was the artistic director, conductor and founder of the National Academy Orchestra of Canada, which is a training orchestra.

He performed for royalty and Pope Francis, and was an Officer of the Order of Canada as well as a member of the Order of Ontario.

Inksetter credits Brott with leading the transformation of the Thunder Bay Symphony during his tenure as its first music director from 1967 to 1972.

When he arrived in Canada's centennial year, the TBSO was still known as the Lakehead Symphony Orchestra.

"Boris Brott actually led the process of what I call the professionalizing of the symphony," Inksetter told TBnewswatch.

He explained that the original orchestra was all amateur local players, playing more or less for fun, but Brott showed that it was possible to raise the artistic level and become a fully professional symphony.

"That seemed to be his spark plug. At the same time, he was building the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra and the Regina Symphony Orchestra. So taking a new venture and building it to a fully professional organization seemed to be what he was best at."

Inksetter said Brott's legacy in Thunder Bay will be that of a builder, for having taken "a small organization in a small community, and getting us started on that process to really build something worthwhile in Thunder Bay."

He called Brott's death a senseless tragedy and waste of life.

Hamilton police arrested a suspect in the collision following a brief pursuit.

Gary Rinne

About the Author: Gary Rinne

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Gary started part-time at Tbnewswatch in 2016 after retiring from the CBC
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