Fonds 53 - Esprit Orchestra fonds

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Esprit Orchestra fonds


  • 1983-2021 (Creation)

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Extent and medium

6.5 m of textual records and other materials

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Administrative history

Founded in 1983 by Music Director and Conductor, Alex Pauk, with financial assistance from Canada Council and Suncor Inc., Esprit Orchestra is Canada's only full-sized, professional orchestra devoted to performing and promoting new orchestral music. It was known as Esprit Contemporain from 1983 to 1986.

They gave their first concert on August 19, 1983 in Kingston, Ontario with the National Youth Orchestra, featuring works by Serge Garant and Alexina Louie, and premiering two commissioned works: Alchemies by John Burke and Vanishing Points by John Rea.

The orchestra, based in Toronto, commissions and premieres new Canadian works and ensures continued public access to this material via repeat performances, audio and film recordings, radio broadcasts, and national and international tours. Their concert programs also regularly feature Canadian premieres of music by leading international composers. As of 2023, the orchestra consists of 65 members. Esprit's annual subscription series consists of three to five concerts per season, held at Toronto's St. Lawrence Centre and at Koerner Hall, University of Toronto.

In addition to their commitment to new music, Esprit is dedicated to working with the next generation of new music professionals, with mentorship and outreach programs, lectures, open rehearsals, and the annual New Wave Composers Festival that celebrates young Canadian artists.

Esprit has received several awards, including three Lieutenant Governor’s Arts Awards (1996, 1998, 2000), the Jean A. Chalmers National Music Award (1995), the Vida Peene Award and the SOCAN Award for Imaginative Orchestral Programming (1990).

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Donated by Esprit Orchestra (A2021-01).

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Fonds consists of the administrative records of Esprit Orchestra, from its foundation in 1983 as Esprit Contemporain, to 2021.

Records include meeting minutes and correspondence from the board of directors and associated committees; financial records, including budgets, year-end financial statements, and reports to granting agencies; performance records, including planning files from subscription and non-subscription concerts, national and international tours, and composer commissions; materials relating to the orchestra's education and outreach activities; promotional materials, including posters, photographs, programs, and reviews; records relating to recording projects, including CDs, music for films, and radio broadcasts; awards received by the orchestra and its musical director Alex Pauk; and correspondence with musicians, composers, and other associations.

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System of arrangement

Fonds consists of 8 series: (A) Administrative records, consisting of records of the board of directors and committees; (B) Financial records; (C) Concert performances and performing records; (D) Education and outreach activities; (E) Public relations, promotion, and marketing materials; (F) Recordings for albums and films; (G) Awards; (H) Correspondence.

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Dates of creation revision deletion

Last updated November 6, 2023.




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