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A royal tribute at the Brott Music Festival

Wherever Boris Brott conducted, he never passed up an opportunity to feature compositions by his father.

And not without good reason since the elder Brott — born Joël Brod in Montreal in 1915 he changed his given name to Alexander at age 17 in emulation of Alexander the Great — was a musical force to be reckoned with as a violinist, concertmaster, conductor, composer, and teacher up until his death in 2005.

Earlier this year, prior to his tragic hit-and-run death on April 5, Boris Brott had planned an “A Royal Tribute” concert as a tip of the hat to the Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. And just as he’d done during previous jubilee years, he programmed his father’s “A royal tribute to Queen Elizabeth II” which had been commissioned by the CBC in 1953 for the Queen’s coronation.

Only this time around, it won’t be Boris Brott conducting the work. Instead, Brott Music Festival interim artistic director Alain Trudel, a virtuoso trombone, who in his teens performed with Alexander Brott’s former McGill Chamber Orchestra, will lead the National Academy Orchestra in the Moyer Marquee tent at the Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery, 3210 Staff Ave., Jordan Station, on Sunday, July 31 at 3 pm

“I tried to portray the circumstances of the coronation, the richness of the British heritage, and the new Queen’s personal charm, as well as the turbulence of the times,” said the elder Brott in his 2005 autobiography, “Alexander Brott: My Lives in Music,” co-authored with Betty Nygaard King.

Brott premiered his work with the CBC Symphony Orchestra in Toronto in 1953, and two years later conducted it at the Proms in London’s Royal Albert Hall. Other conductors also took it up, notably Otto Klemperer with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, and of course, Boris Brott.

In an undated live archival recording on the Canadian Music Centre’s website, Boris Brott highlighted some of the work’s features.

“Dad, of course, is a Quebecer, and it was a matter of controversy in Quebec, this whole business of Canadians having an allegiance to a British royal,” Brott explained to the audience. “And so, you’ll notice there are some elements that perhaps don’t necessarily belong in a royal tribute like ‘Alouette’ is from time to time heard. There is also a wonderful violin solo which is a reflection of the young Queen herself. And you’ll notice a funeral march which is a tribute to her late father, King George VI.

The royal tribute bill also includes Vaughan Williams’s “The Lark Ascending” with guest concertmaster Jean-Sébastien Roy, a first violinist with the Orchester symphonique de Montréal and from 2013 to 2015 concertmaster of the former McGill Chamber Orchestra under Boris Brott, Britten’s “Simple Symphony ” with NAO apprentice conductor Frédéric-Alexandre Michaud, and Elgar’s “Enigma Variations.”

tickets at or by calling 905-525-7664: $127 including antipasto platters and wine tastings.

Thursday, July 28 at 7:30 pm in LR Wilson Concert Hall, 1280 Main St. W., the BMF presents Valerie Tryon in Liszt’s “Piano Concerto no. 1” with Trudel and the NAO. Tickets originally purchased for the Ancaster Memorial Arts Center will be valid at LR Wilson Concert Hall. tickets at or by calling 905-525-7664: $59, senior $54, student $25, child under 12 $10.

Saturday, July 30 from 5 to 6 pm on the outdoor stage at The Gasworks, 141 Park St. N., the Hamilton Music Collective presents Duo46, guitarist Matthew Gould and violinist Beth Ilana Schneider-Gould, performing their “Tango Sensations” program consisting of Piazzolla’s 1986 “Histoire du Tango,” and selections from Argentinian-American composer Jorge Liderman’s 2007 “Aires de Sefarad II,” a cycle of songs without words based on melodies sung in Ladino by Sephardic Jews. Free admission, though donations are accepted with all proceeds going to the Musical Futures Summer Camp Scholarship Fund.

Wednesday, Aug. 3 at 7:30 pm in Liuna Station, 360 James St. N., the BMF presents “The Way You Look Tonight: Frank Sinatra’s Greatest Hits” with vocalist Steve Ritrovato crooning “Fly Me to the Moon, “Strangers in the Night,” “New York, New York,” among many other tunes all accompanied by guest host Jaelem Bhate and the NAO. Tickets at or by calling 905-525-7664: $59, senior $54, student $25, child under 12 $10.


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