Ardyth Brott, Executive Director for the Brott Music Festival, is the winner of the Orchestras Canada Betty Webster Award for 2017.
Ms Brott will receive the Award at a Brott Music Festival concert during the 2017 festival.
The Betty Webster Award is presented each year to one individual or organization that has made a sustained and significant contribution over a number of years to the Canadian orchestral community, with an emphasis on leadership, education and volunteerism. It was established in 2002 to honour Orchestras Canada’s founding Executive Director, and is a tribute to Mrs. Webster’s visionary leadership and her extraordinary contributions to the health and vitality of Canada’s orchestral community.
The award includes a plaque along with a donation to an orchestra of the winner’s choosing.
Ms Brott has asked that this year’s donation be directed to the Hamilton-based National Academy Orchestra, an organization with a 29-year track record of training emerging professional orchestral musicians through intensive work with guest concertmasters and mentors from across the country, guest conductors, and internationally-renowned soloists, and performance opportunities ranging from full orchestra to opera to chamber music. To date, over 1400 young musicians have graduated from the NAO, and many of them are now working throughout Canada and around the world.
Ardyth Brott has served as Executive Director of the Brott Music Festival 30 years, and the National Academy Orchestra for 29 years. A graduate of Western University’s Faculty of Law, she was called to the Ontario Bar in 1995; in addition, she is a best-selling author of children’s books (including the musically-inspired “Jeremy’s Decision”, “The Loneliest Piano”, and “Pepe’s Magic Bow”), and a valued community volunteer (serving in key roles at the Hamilton Club, and the National Gallery of Canada, among others). She has applied her literary gifts to the creation of scripts for ground-breaking music education programs (including “Beethoven and the Bully”, “Isabella Tarantella”, and “The Inuit Spirit”), connecting contemporary issues and orchestral music through story-telling.
Coincidentally, Ardyth Brott is the daughter of Betty Webster. Although she was as surprised as Ardyth was to hear the news, Betty of course is absolutely delighted!
This year’s national jury was chaired by Waterloo-based conductor Matthew Jones (Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Orchestra), and included Vancouver arts manager Leanne Davis (Vancouver Symphony Orchestra), Ottawa violinist, conductor, educator (and 2016 winner of the Betty Webster Award) John Gomez (Ottawa Youth Orchestra Academy), Montreal arts manager Barbara Scales (Latitude 45 Arts Management), and Charlottetown’s Bruce Craig (PEI Symphony Orchestra).
Speaking about the award, jury chair Matthew Jones said, “The jury saw Ardyth Brott as a prima inter pares: someone whose exceptional contributions to the Canadian orchestral community are seen most clearly in the context of the other remarkable individuals and organizations shaping Canada’s lively and diverse orchestral culture. The jury was struck by Ardyth’s depth of involvement in the organizations she has served, her sustained support for youth involvement in music, and the lasting impact her work has had for numerous generations of professional orchestral musicians in Canada and beyond. It is an honour to be able to acknowledge this work.”