The history of the MCO

The McGill Chamber Orchestra (MCO) is one of Canada’s most established chamber orchestras. It was founded in 1939 by Artistic Director Alexander Brott and his wife, Lotte Brott, cellist and General Manager till 1998. The orchestra began as the McGill String Quartet and soon thereafter grew into an ensemble which had as its members principal teachers of the McGill Conservatory of Music and eventually principal players in the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal where Alexander Brott served as Concertmaster and Lotte played in the cello section. The orchestra was quickly recognized as an ensemble of international standing.

Some of the greatest artists of this century have appeared with the MCO. Renowned artists who appeared with the orchestra include Yo-Yo Ma, David Oïstrakh, Lili Kraus, The Beaux Arts Trio, Mstislav Rostropovitch, Isaac Stern, Ida Haendel, Peter Serkin, Marilyn Horne, Maureen Forrester, Victoria de Los Angeles, Yehudi Menuhin, Glenn Gould, Jean-Pierre Rampal, Sondra Radvanovsky and Richard Stoltzman.

The MCO has recorded regularly for commercial labels such as Analekta and CBC Records, and appeared regularly on television. Of particular note, from the 1970’s to the early 90’s, were its annual tours in North and South America as well as Europe, Asia and the Orient.

In 1989, Boris Brott joined the orchestra as Associate Conductor and, in 2000, he was appointed co-conductor of the orchestra. On the death of his father in 2005, he was appointed Artistic Director of the MCO.

The McGill Chamber Orchestra is most grateful for the continuing support of the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, the Conseil des arts de Montréal and the Canada Council for the Arts.