Boris Brott and Me

By Steve Paikin - Published on December 8, 2010



 It's Music Week here on TVO --- across our prime time lineup, we're focusing on different aspects of music, and tonight on The Agenda, we'll do our part.

We'll present three feature interviews: maestro Boris Brott, guitar-maker extraordinaire Linda Manzer, and neuroscientist Daniel Levitin.

How did I select the guests for this program? How do these programs come together? Well, here's the background.

I've known Boris Brott since I was a kid growing up in Hamilton, Ontario.  He was the conductor of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra. My family frequently went to his concerts and my parents' commitment to the HPO was such that both my mother and father served terms as orchestra president.

I think I was about 13 years old when Boris asked me to narrate "Twas the Night Before Christmas" on stage with the HPO at Hamilton Place. The photo below shows him applauding after the performance was complete. Tonight, I get to return the favour by having Boris come to our studio, and have him demystify the 95% of the job a conductor does when he's not waving a baton.  

Boris Brott & SP


Several weeks ago, I spoke with the UK's deputy consul-general, Ashley Prime. In passing, he told me about a friend of his --- Linda Manzer --- who had an extraordinary talent: she made guitars, for some of the best guitarists around.

Sounded like another good idea for our program. So Linda will be here to tell us how she creates not only guitars, but also wonderful works of art, which can retail for up to $100,000.


Linda Manzer's 42-string Pikasso guitar.

And finally, some weeks ago, I attended a concert at The Royal Conservatory in Toronto, where the Kitchener-Waterloo Orchestra played Beethoven's 5th Symphony, while neuroscientist Daniel Levitin of McGill University lectured the audience on how music affects the brain. 

Again, a light went on. Wouldn't that be a fascinating addition to our program. And thankfully, even though he's traveling in New York, Daniel has made himself available to talk to us about how and why we're hard-wired to enjoy music.

Three very different takes on the world of music. And, I hope, three memorable feature interviews. See you tonight at 8 and/or 11 p.m.

Boris Brott & SP image widget
Thinking of your experience with, how likely are you to recommend to a friend or colleague?
Not at all Likely
Extremely Likely

Most recent on TVO