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Esprit Orchestra Launches 2014-2015 Concert Season



On Sunday, October 16th, the Esprit Orchestra launches its 32nd season with a concert under the direction of its Founding Music Director and Conductor, Alex Pauk. Alex has recently been appointed to the Order of Canada, Canada’s highest civilian honour, for his unwavering presentation and promotion of today’s orchestral music.

The concert opens with a performance of Polaris by Thomas Adès, a work the English composer subtitled Voyage for Orchestra. Fastening on the North Star, and magnetic north as navigational guide, the piece builds from a simple cycling pattern of notes into a massive, prismatic spiral of sound.

“The orchestra’s brass players will be distributed throughout the balconies to envelop the audience and reveal the superb acoustic space of Koerner Hallto its fullest advantage,” Alex Pauk, Music Director & Conductor.

Maestro Pauk has crafted this programme to include another work related to the Earth’s natural phenomena, namely Phantom Suns by Canadian Paul Frehner, a work inspired by the lustrous spots of light or halos that appear at times around the sun. The piece, originally commissioned in celebration of Esprit’s 30th Anniversary Season, is in two movements – the first depicting light beams passing through atmospheric conditions, the second relates to Odin, the sky god or early Germanic or Scandinavian mythological explanations for phantom suns.

The concert also includes works incorporating popular songs from two separate eras. Canadian composer Chris Paul Harman’s Coyote Soul , commissioned by Esprit and premiered in 2011, is a piece built around Close to You, a song by Burt Bacharach made famous in 1970 through a recording by Richard and Karen Carpenter. The work incorporates an unusual instrumental grouping within the orchestra including prepared piano, toy piano, celeste, two harps and auxiliary instruments including slide whistles and recorders. A complete Harman arrangement of Bacharach’s original tune serves as the work’s coda.

Central Park in the Dark by American composer Charles Ives, is in the composer’s words, “a picture-in-sounds of nature and of happenings people would have heard before the combustion engine and radio monopolized the earth and air” when sitting on a bench in Central Park circa 1906. The orchestral strings represent night sounds and silent darkness and are interrupted by “the Casino over the pond; street singers singing and whistling the latest pop songs; a street parade; pianolas having a ragtime war; a street car; a fire engine” etc. “Again the darkness is heard – an echo over the pond – and we walk home” the kaleidoscopic exuberance of Ive’s musical layers still resonating in our ears.

POLARIS, Thursday October 16, 2014

Thomas Adès (England) – Polaris
Charles Ives (U.S.A) – Central Park in the Dark
Paul Frehner (Canada) – Phantom Suns
Chris Paul Harman (Canada) – Coyote Soul
Alex Pauk, Conductor

Thursday, October 16th 2014, Koerner Hall

8:00PM Concert | 7:15PM Pre-Concert Chat

Royal Conservatory of Music TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning, 273 Bloor Street West, Toronto

Four-concert subscription packages starting at: Adult Regular $160; Senior 65+ $145; Under 30 $65

Individual concert tickets starting at: Adult Regular $45; Senior 65+ $40; Under 30 $20

Please call (416) 408 0208 or visit

For more details visit:

Esprit Orchestra is Canada’s only full-sized orchestra devoted exclusively to performing and promoting new orchestral music. Esprit Orchestra gratefully acknowledges Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council, SOCAN Foundation, The Koerner Foundation, The Hal Jackman Foundation, The Mary Margaret Webb Foundation, The Max Clarkson Family Foundation and The J.P. Bickell Foundation for the their generous support.

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