Esprit Orchestra Presents: VIOLINISSIMO

November 7, 2022 Download this release in PDF format

For Immediate Release – November 7, 2022 







Esprit Orchestra’s 40th Anniversary Season continues at Koerner Hall on Sunday, November 27th at 8:00pm with VIOLINISSIMO, a remarkable evening of Canadian violin concertos with three of Toronto’s finest concertmasters as soloists. José Evangelista’s Violinissimo and John Rea’s Figures hâtives, established works from Esprit’s history accompany the World Premiere performance of Andrew Staniland’s Six Enigmas featuring the concertmaster of Esprit, Stephen Sitarski as soloist.  Concertmaster of the National Ballet of Canada Orchestra, Aaron Schwebel and Concertmaster of the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra, Marie Bérard appear as soloists in the Evangelista and Rea respectively, and all three will unite to conclude this novel evening with a celebratory first performance by Esprit of Triple Concerto for Three Violins and Orchestra written by composer Alexina Louie, O.C. who will also moderate a pre-concert talk featuring composers and soloists prior to the concert at 7:15pm.


Esprit’s fall/winter subscription series will continue with TAIKO LIVE! on January 25th, as part of the Royal Conservatory of Music’s 21C Music Festival with a spring/summer series to be announced. 


Evangelista’s Violinissimo, composed in 1992 for the Orquestra de Valencia combines the familiarity of the traditional concerto structure with Evangelista’s trademark flare and intensity. Violinissimo, the title attributed to this work by Evangelista solely to sound more interesting than just “Concerto for Violin” reflects the composer’s intensity and passion, particularly in the outer movements Acrobatico and Vertiginoso. This performance marks the first appearance by violinist Aaron Schwebel as a soloist with Esprit. Violinissimo was last performed by Esprit in 2006.


Figures hâtives or “Hurried Figures” was born, at least in part, out of a child telling composer John Rea that being impatient is “when one waits fast” and Rea’s desire to illustrate this paradox musically. Cast in a single movement, Figures hâtives juxtaposes agitated rhythmic figures against soaring elegant lines rapidly and with haste; a relentless push and pull resulting in the feeling of a frenzied yet static state. Commissioned and premiered by the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal in 2006, Esprit and violinist Marie Bérard return to this work since last performing it together in 2009. 


Composed for and in close collaboration with Esprit’s concertmaster Stephen Sitarski, Andrew Staniland’s Six Enigmas promises to thrill the audience with its brilliant virtuosity, challenge with Staniland’s trademark bold and visionary language and excite with a surprise… or six! This World Premiere Performance is possible with the generous support of The Michael & Sonja Koerner Charitable Foundation. 


Concluding this one-of-a-kind event is a must-hear performance of the jubilant and thrilling Triple Concerto for Three Violins and Orchestra by Alexina Louie. This truly unique work was commissioned for the Sesquicentennial of Canada by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal & the National Arts Centre Orchestra, with the concertmaster from each orchestra forming the trio of soloists in a joyous musical celebration of Canada. Esprit Orchestra, in their first performance of this work, with their own trio of concertmasters will direct the celebratory nature of this music to their home, Toronto, to these violinists who lead and represent the very best in this city’s music community, and to the 40th Anniversary of Esprit.



Sunday, November 27th, 2022

Esprit Orchestra Presents: VIOLINISSIMO

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

Pre-Concert Chat moderated by composer Alexina Louie, O.C.

Alex Pauk, C.M. – Conductor

Aaron Schwebel- Violin

Stephen Sitarski- Violin

Marie Bérard- Violin


José Evangelista (Canada)           Violinissimo (1992)

Aaron Schwebel, violin concerto for violin & orchestra

Andrew Staniland (Canada) Six Enigmas (2022)**

Stephen Sitarski, violin concerto for violin & orchestra

John Rea (Canada) Figures hâtives (2006)

Marie Bérard, violin concerto for violin & orchestra

Alexina Louie (Canada) Triple Concerto for Three Violins & Orchestra (2017)

Aaron Schwebel, Stephen Sitarski

Marie Bérard, violins

**World Premiere & Esprit Commission



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