Classical Music

Newswire | Esprit Orchestra’s 40 Years

Newswire | Esprit Orchestra’s 40 Years

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Esprit Orchestra’s 40th Anniversary Season (2022-2023) begins with a fall-winter subscription  concert series celebrating Maestro Alex Pauk’s founding of Canada’s foremost, unique, full-sized orchestra  exclusively devoted to presenting the music of today. A 2023 spring series will be announced in November.

The opening three concerts, on October 27, November 27 and January 25, all presented in Toronto’s  stunning and acoustically superb Koerner Hall, exemplify Esprit’s programming of the best music by the  greatest living composers from around the world including Thomas Adès, and Unsuk Chin. Canada’s best  composers such as John Rea, Colin McPhee, José Evangelista and Alexina Louie are also represented.  Additionally, Esprit’s commitment to developing new repertoire continues with World Premieres of  commissioned works by Canadians Andrew Staniland and James O’Callaghan, as well as a repeat  performance of an Esprit commission by Ottawa composer Christopher Goddard. Esprit’s Pre-concert  Talks, hosted by esteemed Canadian composer Alexina Louie, are featured at 7:15pm prior to each  concert.

Kicking off this special season is SPIRA (October 27th, 2022), a riveting program marked by the Canadian  Premiere of the masterful Unsuk Chin’s Spira (Concerto for Orchestra), a fascinating work of virtuosity,  unconventional textures and sonorities depicting growth and metamorphosis in the natural world. Opening  this program is Christopher Goddard’s Les tringles des sistres tintaient, a work that reimagines the  famous gypsy song from the second act of Bizet’s Carmen. Concluding this program is the iconic Asyla, by  Thomas Adès. Given its Canadian Premiere by Esprit Orchestra in 2004, the alternately violently raucous  and deeply meditative Asyla has become one of the most well-known, frequently performed new orchestral  works of our time, thrilling audiences around the world through its expansive and dynamic sound world.

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Esprit Orchestra’s 40-year commitment to highlighting superb Canadian music and performers continues  with VIOLINISSIMO (November 27th, 2022), a program featuring four astounding Canadian contributions  to the violin concerto repertory with soloists being concertmasters from three great Toronto orchestras. Aaron Schwebel (National Ballet of Canada Orchestra), Marie Bérard (Canadian Opera Company  Orchestra) and Stephen Sitarski (Esprit Orchestra) will respectively perform the Violinissimo by José  Evangelista, Figures hâtives by John Rea, and Six Enigmas (World Premiere) by Andrew Staniland.  The concert’s special finale will feature all three soloists in a performance of Alexina Louie’s shimmering,  electrifying Triple Concerto for Three Violins and Orchestra.

As part of the Royal Conservatory of Music’s 21C Music Festival, Esprit Orchestra will present TAIKO  LIVE! (January 25, 2023), a trip to the fantastical soundworld of Japanese composer Maki Ishii’s Mono prism featuring the return of the spectacular Toronto Taiko drumming group Nagata Shachu. Esprit  Orchestra is thrilled to have rising star Canadian cellist Cameron Crozman join Esprit for the World  Premiere of James O’Callaghan’s Overbound. With eight loudspeakers surrounding the audience,  Overbound blends solo cello, electronic and orchestral sound in a dynamic, immersive experience of sonic  colours and textures. Rounding out this distinctive program is Tabuh-tabuhan for two pianos and orchestra  by Colin McPhee. Influenced by the Balinese Gamelan tradition and the composer’s time living in Bali,  McPhee’s lively work features upbeat and vibrant melodic and rhythmic motifs that transport listeners to  another time and place of an exotic nature.

ESPRIT ORCHESTRA KOERNER HALL SUBSCRIPTION SERIES  Royal Conservatory of Music TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning  273 Bloor Street West  

Individual concert tickets start at: Adult $45; Senior 65+ $45; Under 30 $27; Student $25  Please call (416) 408 0208 or visit

Concerts: 8pm Pre-Concert Talks: 7:15pm

October 27, 2022- SPIRA  

Alex Pauk, conductor 

Christopher Goddard (Canada)

Les tringles des sistres tintaient for orchestra

Unsuk Chin (S.Korea/Germany)


(Concerto for Orchestra)*

Thomas Adès (England)


for large orchestra

November 27, 2022- VIOLINISSIMO 

Alex Pauk, conductor 

Aaron Schwebel, violin 

Stephen Sitarski, violin 

Marie Bérard, violin 

José Evangelista (Canada)


concerto for violin and orchestra

Andrew Staniland (Canada)

Six Enigmas** 

concerto for violin and orchestra

John Rea (Canada)

Figures hâtives 

concerto for violin and orchestra

Alexina Louie (Canada)

Triple Concerto for Three Violins  

and Orchestra 

*Canadian Premiere

**World Premiere Performance Commissioned by Esprit

January 25, 2023- TAIKO LIVE!  

Alex Pauk, conductor 

Cameron Crozman, cello  

James O’Callaghan, electronics  Nagata Shachu, Taiko drumming  ensemble  

Colin McPhee (Canada)


for two pianos and orchestra

James O’Callaghan (Canada)


concerto for cello, electronics and orchestra

Maki Ishii (Japan)


for Taiko drumming ensemble and orchestra

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