October 31, 2018 Download this release in PDF format

For Immediate Release October 31, 2018

Snowmobile at the Symphony


On Wednesday November 28, 2018, Esprit Orchestra presents North/White, the second concert of the 2018-2019 season, at 8:00pm in Koerner Hall. The program features two of Canada’s most prestigious composers, Alexina Louie and R. Murray Schafer, both of whom wrote pieces which explore the cultures, myths, and magical environments of Canada’s Arctic. Icelandic composer, Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s piece Dreaming also appears on the program.

The title piece of the concert, R. Murray Schafer’s North/White, includes an unconventional instrument in the orchestra – a snowmobile! Arctic Cat kindly donated the use of two snowmobiles for use during this concert, one of which will be displayed in the lobby. The work depicts Arctic beauty, while also portraying the environmental destruction of the Canadian North by pipelines, highways, and machinery. Schafer writes, “I decided to place a snowmobile in the percussion section as a symbol of noise and pollution generated by technology”. The audience will be invited to play recorded snowmobile sounds on their smartphones during the piece, as cued by the conductor. This type of audience participation was a hit during Esprit’s 2017-2018 season. Schafer’s work also explores the mystic power of the North and its link to Canadian identity; the idea of the North is a Canadian myth, and the invasion of technology and industry is disrupting our relationship with nature. Like white light, composed of all visible frequencies, Schafer’s provocative work combines all the producible notes of the symphony to communicate the spaciousness, the power, and the austerity of Canada’s Arctic and the importance of preserving it.

Accompanying Schafer’s work on the program is composer Alexina Louie’s own musical reflection on Canada’s Arctic. Louie’s Take the Dog Sled is performed with Inuit throat singers, Evie Mark and Akinisie Sivuarapik as guest artists. This work captures the joy, tenderness and energy of life in the North, and touches upon the humour of the Inuit and the mystical qualities of the surrounding lands. Unconventional instruments are featured in Take the Dog Sled too, such as a marimba constructed from varying sizes of glass bottles. A pair of hard, resonant stones begin the piece in the percussion section. The composer opted for these in order to ensure the piece could be performed in remote areas without the barrier of flying in cumbersome or delicate instruments on small propeller planes.

Finally, keeping with Northern ties, Icelandic composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s Dreaming is a rich, meditative piece of music; a mysterious shifting landscape, bringing time to a halt – like a dream. As an expression of a state of mind, it is nonetheless full of sensuality and draws listeners into an immersive sonic environment.




Pre-Concert Chat Moderated by composer Alexina Louie

Esprit Orchestra Presents: North/White

Wednesday November 28, 2018 | 8:00pm Concert | 7:15pm Pre-Concert Chat

Alex Pauk – conductor
Evie Mark and Akinisie Sivuarapik – Inuit throat singers

Anna Thorvaldsdottir (Iceland)Dreaming (2008)*
Alexina Louie (Canada)Take the Dog Sled (2008)
R. Murray Schafer (Canada)North/White (1973)

*Canadian Premiere

Royal Conservatory of Music TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning
273 Bloor Street West, Toronto
Individual concert tickets start at: Adult $45; Senior 65+ $45; Under 30 $27; Student $25
Please call (416) 408 0208 or visit


Season Sponsor:

Use of snowmobiles generously donated by:

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, Ontario Arts Foundation, TELUS, SOCAN Foundation, The Koerner Foundation, The Mary-Margaret Webb Foundation, The J.P. Bickell Foundation, Timothy & Frances Price, and Judy & Wilmot Matthews for their generous support.

Media Contact:
Amber Melhado / Marketing & Outreach Coordinator
(416) 815-7887