Esprit announces New Wave Festival at TD Music Hall & Season Finale at Koerner Hall

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For Immediate Release – February 21st, 2023




Esprit Orchestra’s 40th Anniversary Season continues with the return of the New Wave Festival, a concert lounge experience with programs at 7:00PM on Wednesday, April 12th and Sunday, April 16th. Offering attendees stunning views of Toronto’s urban landscape through floor to ceiling windows, the 2023 New Wave Festival will be presented at the newly opened, state-of-the-art TD Music Hall, part of the Allied Music Centre connected to historic Massey Hall. A convergence of contemporary music and nightlife, the festival has an atmosphere more akin to a lounge than a traditional concert hall. The TD Music Hall is a casual and dynamic space equipped with a full-service bar in addition to top-of-the-line immersive audio, video and lightning capabilities which perfectly befit Esprit’s bold and experimental programmes. 


Esprit’s annual New Wave Festival was established in 2002 to support the careers of emerging Canadian composers. Forgoing the formality of the concert hall in exchange for a relaxed and social space, composers, performers, artists and the public are invited to mingle and network while experiencing Esprit’s quintessentially innovative and audacious programming in a uniquely intimate setting. April 12th will include brief keynote commentary from esteemed Canadian composer John Rea, while April 16th will feature a short roundtable exploring the extraordinary creative lives of composer Julius Eastman and his contemporary, Claude Vivier.

With two distinct programs, the concerts comprise brand new commissioned pieces by young Canadian composers engaged in Esprit’s Three Year Creative Strategy, curated alongside works from new music’s most radical and influential figures. April 12th’s New Wave 1 will include World Premieres of two Esprit commissioned works, L’histoire que les vagues racontent for chamber orchestra and electronics by Sophie Dupuis and Roydon Tse’s Mobilize, for sinfonietta. The program also includes Akira Nishimura’s Kecak, Claude Vivier’s enchanting Pulau Dewata in an arrangement by John Rea, and the World Premiere of Chris Paul Harman’s Partita No. 2 for Solo Violin, performed by soloist Mark Fewer. 

New Wave 2, on April 16th features Misato Mochizuki’s science and techno inspired Chimera, a stirring complement to World Premieres of new works for chamber orchestra by Canadians Julia Mermelstein and Stephanie Orlando. Among the first major performances of his work in this country, Esprit presents the Canadian Premiere of the fearless and trailblazing Julius Eastman’s Gay Guerrilla, in an arrangement for string septet by fellow American Jessie Montgomery. A true visionary, Eastman was unafraid of controversy, stating as his personal motto, “to be what I am to the fullest: Black to the fullest, a musician to the fullest, and a homosexual to the fullest.” Eastman’s staunch embrace of his race and sexuality often vexed his audiences, who were provoked by his controversial practice of using affronting, offensive language and slurs as the titles of his works. Rooted in improvisation and imbued with spirituality, Eastman’s music, including 1979’s Gay Guerrilla, is distinctly of its time yet still intensely relevant and radical today. Eastman’s friend, Mary-Jane Leach, once succinctly described him and his music as such, “Julius Eastman was a gay African-American composer of works that were minimal in form but maximal in effect.”

Sunday, April 23rd sees Esprit and Music Director Alex Pauk return to Koerner Hall with a big, bold and visionary program that serves as the finale of Esprit’s landmark 40th Anniversary concert season. World Premieres of works by Canadian composers Chris Paul Harman and Eugene Astapov will be accompanied by Esprit’s first performance of the groundbreaking 2012 work, The Four Seasons Recomposed, a reimagining of Vivaldi by Max Richter with violinist Aaron Schwebel appearing as soloist. The evening concludes with John Corigliano’s powerful and profoundly evocative Symphony No. 1, composed in memory of the composer’s dearest musician friends who were lost to the AIDS epidemic.



TD Music Hall | 178 Victoria St. | $20 Tickets

Festival Sponsors:
Art Mentor Foundation Lucerne, SOCAN Foundation and The Azrieli Foundation


Wednesday, April 12th, 2023 | 7:00PM

Alex Pauk, C.M. | Conductor

Mark Fewer | Violin

SOPHIE DUPUIS (Canada) | L’histoire que les vague racontent** (2021-2022)

for 14 musicians and live electronics

ROYDON TSE (Canada) | Mobilize** (2022)

for sinfonietta

SALVATORE SCIARRINO (Italy) | Brazil (1988)

(arrangement based on music by Ary Barroso)

CLAUDE VIVIER (Canada) | Pulau Dewata (1977)

arr. JOHN REA (Canada)

CHRIS PAUL HARMAN (Canada) | Partita No. 2 for Solo Violin* (2019)

Mark Fewer, violin

AKIRA NISHIMURA (Japan) | Kecak (1979)

for percussion sextet


Sunday, April 16th, 2023 | 7:00PM

Alex Pauk, C.M. | Conductor

Ryan Scott | Snare Drum

MISATO MOCHIZUKI (Japan) | Chimera (2000)

for 11 players

JULIUS EASTMAN (United States) | Gay Guerrilla*** (1979) 

  arr. JESSIE MONTGOMERY (United States)

for string septet

ANDREW STANILAND (Canada) | Orion Constellation Theory (2014)

for solo snare drum and electronics 

Ryan Scott, snare drum 

JULIA MERMELSTEIN (Canada) | between walls** (2023)

for chamber orchestra and electronics

STEPHANIE ORLANDO (Canada) | 4-7-8** (2023)

for chamber orchestra

STEVE REICH (United States) | Sextet (1984)

for percussion and keyboards

*World Premiere |  ***Canadian Premiere

**World Premiere commissioned by Esprit with the generous support of the Ontario Arts Council 


Sunday, April 23rd, 2023

Esprit Orchestra Presents: Season Finale

8:00 pm Concert | 7:15 pm Pre-Concert Talk

Pre-concert talk moderated by composer Alexina Louie, O.C.


Alex Pauk, C.M. | Conductor

                                       Eugene Astapov | RBC Associate Composer/Conductor

Aaron Schwebel | Violin


MAX RICHTER (Germany/United Kingdom) | The Four Seasons Recomposed (2012)

  • Spring

Aaron Schwebel, violin 

EUGENE ASTAPOV (Canada) | Burial Rites: In Memoriam Marcus Gibbons** (2023)

MAX RICHTER (Germany/United Kingdom) | The Four Seasons Recomposed (2012)

  • Winter 

Aaron Schwebel, violin 

CHRIS PAUL HARMAN (Canada) | Clementi sottosopra* (2023)


Symphony No. 1 (1988) 

  1. Apologue: Of Rage and Remembrance 
  2. Tarantella
  3. Chaconne: Giulio’s Song
  4. Epilogue

*World Premiere
** World Premiere commissioned by Esprit with generous support from the RBC Foundation, SOCAN Foundation and Sofia Gomez Gibbons


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

Season Sponsor: 

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, Azrieli Foundation, SOCAN Foundation, Ontario Arts Foundation, The Michael and Sonja Koerner Charitable Foundation, The Mary-Margaret Webb Foundation, Tim & Frances Price, Art Mentor Foundation Lucerne, Power Corporation of Canada, RBC Foundation, The Max Clarkson Family Foundation, The Charles H. Ivey Foundation, The Amphion Foundation and Anonymous for their generous support.

Media Contact:

Cameron Dubé
(416) 815-7887