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Alex Pauk: Biography

Alex Pauk
1945 -
Region: Ontario

Alex Pauk

Alex Pauk is a prominent and influential conductor/composer on the Canadian music scene and has a growing international profile. He is also a leading figure in the field of film music scoring, conducting and production.

In 1983, he founded Toronto's award-winning Esprit Orchestra focusing on contemporary "classical" music (Pauk has commissioned new pieces from over sixty composers), early 20th Century music, as well as new film scores. He continues to develop the Esprit Orchestra as both a concert organization, and an orchestra involved with film, television, music theatre, visual arts, dance, CD and DVD recording and multimedia events.

Pauk has been commissioned to write music for all the above-mentioned disciplines, along with commissions for every type of musical ensemble. In composing for film, Alex Pauk works in partnership with his wife, the highly celebrated Canadian composer Alexina Louie. The scope of their film music, as separate from their individual concert music, covers a wide range of styles and genres (including arrangements of popular music).

In addition to the Esprit Orchestra, Pauk has conducted the Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony, CBC Vancouver Radio Orchestra, Hamilton Philharmonic, Winnipeg Symphony as well as smaller orchestras and ensembles throughout Canada. With the Esprit Orchestra, he has recorded five CDs of Canadian music for CBC Records, and two film soundtrack CDs - one for the Varese Saraband label (music by Mychael Danna for Atom Egoyan's films), and one for the SONY Classical label containing the Pauk/Louie film score for Don McKellar's feature film Last Night. All of Pauk's concerts with Esprit are recorded by CBC Radio for national and/or international broadcast. Several Esprit events have been taped for television broadcast on the BRAVO! Channel.

In 1999, Alex Pauk made his debut European tour conducting five Esprit Orchestra concerts in Holland (Gaudeamus International Music Week) and France. Having also organized two Canadian tours, he is currently planning Esprit debuts in New York and Boston. Pauk often performs the Canadian premieres of works by leading international composers such as Takemitsu, Ligeti, Berio, Adams, Penderecki and Lindberg and invites outstanding soloists such as Richard Stoltzman, Maurice Bourque, Richard Margison, Maureen Forrester, Jon Kimura Parker and the percussion ensemble NEXUS to perform with his orchestra. CBC Radio has frequently recorded and broadcast Pauk conducting Esprit in programmes of music by Ravel, Debussy, Ives, Weill, Elgar, Falla, Rodrigo, and Bernstein.

The Esprit Orchestra, through projects initiated and realized by Pauk, has been the recipient of numerous awards acknowledging its visionary role in giving new meaning to what an orchestra is in today's society. These awards include the1990 SOCAN Award of Merit for imaginative programming, the Jean A. Chalmers National Music Award (1995) for outstanding contribution to musical creativity, three Lieutenant Governor's Awards for the Arts (1996, 1998, 2000) for developing private sector and community support, and two Financial Post Business in the Arts Awards of Distinction for business involvement with Esprit's high calibre, innovative presentations.

The excellence of Pauk's work on compact discs has been recognized internationally on many occasions. For example, the Esprit CD Music for Heaven and Earth received a five-star rating (for performance and sound quality) in the BBC Music Magazine reviews (1996) and the works of composers Harry Somers, Alexina Louie and Colin McPhee have been nominated for or received music industry JUNO Awards as a result of being recorded on CD by Alex Pauk.

Pauk has been involved conducting, composing, arranging, producing and consulting for a wide range of film productions including features, made-for-TV dramas, documentaries, docu-dramas, animations plus many performing arts films produced by Rhombus Media including; Ravel's Brain, The Eternal Earth, The Radical Romantic, Ravel, For the Whales and September Songs: The Music of Kurt Weill (with Pauk and Esprit appearing on camera in several of these films).

Pauk's score for the National Film Board animation Blackberry Subway Jam was nominated for best film score at the1986 Actra Awards. Among recent film projects by the Pauk/Louie team are soundtracks for feature films (Don McKellar's Last Night and Jeremy Podeswa's The Five Senses) that received praise and awards at the Cannes and Toronto International film festivals and are now sold in territories throughout the world. The music for Last Night was nominated for a 1999 Genie Award for best original film score.

Other recent soundtracks include Perfect Pie, a Rhombus Media feature film directed by Barbara Sweete, After the Harvest, a made for television movie directed by Jeremy Podeswa, 24 fps, a short film commissioned to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Toronto International Film Festival, and the Rhombus Media docu-drama Ravel's Brain directed by Larry Weinstein. Pauk recorded the Ravel's Brain score in Cologne conducting the WDR Symphony Orchestra and the WDR Radio Choir.

In November of 2002, Alex Pauk, along with composing partner Alexina Louie, was awarded the prestigious Louis Applebaum Composition Award for excellence in composing for film and television. In November 2001, Pauk conducted the world premiere of his Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra with the Esprit Orchestra in Toronto. April 25, 2003, he will premiere his newest work, Touch Piece for digital soundtrack, multiple video projections and orchestra. Increasingly, in his capacity as Music Director of Esprit, Pauk is collaborating with composers, film makers, video artists, and dancers, as well as set and lighting designers, to produce multimedia, cross-disciplinary concert events.



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