Blog

A Really Big Score!

Alex with Icelandic composer Daniel Bjarnason’s Emergence – a really big score! Physically, it’s one of the largest scores that Alex Pauk, conductor and founder of Esprit Orchestra, has ever conducted (16” x 24”, 40 cm x 60 cm) – so big that it won’t fit on one music stand. It also requires a music…

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Musical Passion by Telephone

In the 1970’s when I was getting to know Claude Vivier, he would sometimes phone me from Montreal to passionately play parts of whatever piece he was writing at the time. He did this simply by putting the receiver by the keyboard of his upright and blasting away as loud as he could so you…

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There Is No Other Orchestra Like It Anywhere

For this 35th Anniversary Esprit season, I’ve aimed to present thought-provoking programs with strong thematic coherence and resonance. My philosophy of building strong artistic relationships over time is reflected in the commissioning of composers we’ve worked with or featured previously, repeat performances of significant pieces in the orchestra’s evolution, and the welcoming back of soloists who appeared with…

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Brilliant Piano Roll Hues

In the late 1970s, tuning in to a radio broadcast in California, I heard some remarkable piano pieces that left me astonished. The pieces delivered a flood of notes at speeds that would be impossible for a live performer to achieve. The unusual musical activity, extremely imaginative, was at times almost acrobatic. For example, two…

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George Crumb: Music Like None Other

We never studied the music of the American composer George Crumb in music school, but it was his music that struck me as being truly unique when I was a young composer. It was different in so many ways from the music that I had been analyzing in theory class. He had developed a sound world that was so evocative, spiritual, haunting, and personal. It touched me. He explored unusual timbres, placed unusual instruments into the ensembles, devised new extended vocal techniques for singers. He made me realize that contemporary music could be really beautiful as well as being intellectually satisfying.

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