October 31, 2019 Download this release in PDF format

For Immediate Release October 31, 2019


Esprit Orchestra to Perform Canadian Premiere of Andrew Norman’s Masterpiece for the Future

Ever wonder what orchestral music will be like one hundred years from now? American composer Andrew Norman considered just that when composing his recent work, Sustain, the title piece of Esprit Orchestra’s next concert. On Sunday December 1, 2019 in Koerner Hall, Esprit’s 37th concert season continues with Sustain. In addition to Norman’s work, the concert includes the World Premiere of Toronto composer Adam Scime’s new violin concerto, Afterglow, which will be performed by guest artist Véronique Mathieu. José Evangelista’s heart-quickening work Accelerando will receive a repeat performance on the program, after being well received by listeners during Esprit’s 2016-2017 concert season.

Esprit’s December 1st concert features America’s most celebrated young composer Andrew Norman, with the Canadian Premiere of his recent work, Sustain. While composing this work, Norman considered how audiences might perceive and be affected by orchestral music one hundred years from now. He then set out in a major new creative direction to produce what some have labeled a masterpiece. Norman writes: “I realized[…] that I was attempting to access and understand spans of time that were much bigger than my own[…] that I was trying to move from times with which I was familiar—that of a tweet, or a work day, or a year—to things I could never personally experience, like the rise and fall of species, the movement of tectonic plates, the birth and death of stars.” At the heart of the work lies a question about humanity’s place within the unfathomably large, diverse, and ancient natural world. Norman also points out a sense of sadness or loss that permeates the music, related to climate change: “we, at this critical moment in our history, are not doing enough to sustain the planet that sustains us.”

In keeping with Esprit’s pledge to foster ongoing relationships with emerging composers, Adam Scime’s new work, Afterglow, will receive its World Premiere. Afterglow, a violin concerto, is the third panel of an orchestral triptyque commissioned by Esprit and will feature the outstanding violinist, Véronique Mathieu, as soloist. An avid contemporary music performer, Mathieu has premiered many works by American and Canadian composers. She is currently serving as Associate Professor of Violin at the University of Saskatchewan.

With inexorable force, José Evangelista’s Accelerando draws listeners in and excites heartbeats in the same way his score affects the orchestra’s playing. Focused around movement, specifically forward motion, the work is built around a cyclical melody; the end is linked with the beginning. The work was commissioned and premiered by the Montreal Symphony Orchestra in November 2016 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Montreal subway system, and transports listeners in musical movement parallel to that of a metro train moving from station to station. Esprit has had a lasting relationship with Evangelista, and programming a repeat performance of this work is part of an ongoing commitment to build sustained musical relationships.


 Pre-Concert Chat moderated by composer Alexina Louie

Sunday December 1, 2019
Esprit Orchestra Presents: Sustain
8:00pm Concert | 7:15pm Pre-Concert Chat


Andrew Norman (U.S.A)Sustain (2018)*

Adam Scime (Canada)Afterglow (2019)**

José Evangelista (Canada)Accelerando (2016)

Alex Pauk, conductor
Véronique Mathieu, violin

*Canadian Premiere
** World Premiere commissioned by Esprit Orchestra with generous support from The Michael and Sonja Koerner Charitable Foundation


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, Ontario Arts Foundation, TELUS, SOCAN Foundation, The Michael and Sonja Koerner Charitable Foundation, The Mary-Margaret Webb Foundation, Timothy & Frances Price, The Charles H. Ivey Foundation, The Amphion Foundation, Inc., and Anonymous for their generous support.


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