November 15, 2015 Download this release in PDF format

For Immediate Release: October 28, 2015 – Toronto, ON


Large Works for Large Orchestra Featuring Canadian Premieres

In a program of vitality and variety, Esprit assembles its largest-ever combination of musicians to perform two Canadian Premieres of large scale works by acclaimed composers Thomas Adès and Andrew Norman, along with a reprise of music commissioned from John Rea.

The concert begins with a one-movement symphony by Thomas Adès titled Tevot, which means, in Hebrew, bars of music. Also, in the Bible, it is the ark of Noah, and the cradle in which the baby Moses is carried on the river. Adès states of this piece, originally composed for the Berlin Philharmonic and Simon Rattle, “I liked the idea that the bars of music were carrying the notes as a sort of family through the piece.” He also thinks of the ark, the vessel, in the piece as the earth.

“The earth would be a spaceship, a ship that carries us – and several other species! – through the chaos of space in safety. It sounds a bit colossal, but it’s the idea of the ship of the world.”

The concert proceeds with a performance of music by John Rea who this season is honoured as the focus of the Homage Series of the Société de musique contemporaine du Québec. Rea was the first composer commissioned by Esprit for its inaugural concert thirty three years ago. Since that time Esprit has maintained a strong artistic connection with him, inviting to give keynote addresses at the orchestra’s festivals, performing almost the entirety of his orchestral music and commissioning new pieces along the way.

Zefiro torna, commissioned by Esprit, was composed making reference to the sonnet of the same name by Francesco Petrarca and set almost three hundred years later as a five-voice madrigal by Claudio Monteverdi. Rea comments:

“Monteverdi’s music for me becomes a kind of cantus firmus which, during the course of its journey through my composition, engages in a dialogue with other musics, with other ancient winds of a more ominous nature, finally to emerge just at that moment when the gentle and agreeable wind Zephyr returns … again.”

Introducing Toronto to one of the hottest young composers on the planet, Esprit concludes the concert with Play, a kaleidoscopic 45-minute, three movement symphony by Los Angeles-based Andrew Norman. The work has arguably described as possibly “the best orchestral work that the twenty-first century has seen thus far”.

The piece encompasses various connotations of play – ranging from light-hearted, child-like exuberance to sinister modes as musical ideas ricochet off one another through the three “levels” that form the movements of the piece. String glissandi and brass outbursts play like the uninhibited predilections of toddlers. Perhaps the most compelling element of this work is its unrelenting build of expectation. With soaring brass and woodwind lines hovering over exuberant string surges as the piece unwinds, the work is a tour de force bursting with energy.


Esprit Orchestra – PLAY
Sunday November 15, 2015

Alex Pauk – conductor

Pre-concert chat moderated by composer Alexina Louie


Andrew Norman (U.S.A.)Play* (2014)
Thomas Adès (England)Tevot** (2007)
John Rea (Canada)Zefiro torna (Zephyr Returns) (1994)

*Canadian Premiere
**Canadian Premiere generously supported with funding from The Koerner Foundation

Play, Sunday November 15, 2015, 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
Individual concert tickets start at: Adult $45; Senior 65+ $40; Under 30 $25; Student $18
Please call (416) 408 0208 or visit For more details:

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, Business for the Arts, SOCAN Foundation, The RBC Foundation, The Koerner Foundation, The Hal Jackman Foundation, The Mary-Margaret Webb Foundation, and The Max Clarkson Family Foundation for the their generous support.

Media Contact:
(647) 317-5924