The Pursuit of an Art Form That Has No Boundaries: Interviewing Alex Pauk
By STEVEN HOBÉ on March 1, 2018 on Impakter
Alex Pauk is a true innovator within the realm of Contemporary Classical Music. Having recently received the Order of Canada for his life’s work, as both a Composer and Conductor of Esprit Orchestra, now in its 35th year, Alex is relentless in his pursuit of new talent and works by living composers. When he’s not programming orchestral pieces, Alex is writing new compositions himself, always pushing the boundaries of this ever-evolving genre of music.
I recently had the opportunity to catch up with Alex at a boutique hotel restaurant, OCHO, in downtown Toronto.
Q: Let’s go back to your early training and university days. What were your key inspirations to delve into New Music?
Alex Pauk: All through my high school years I was leading bands, dance bands, jazz bands and, in fact, in high school formed a little orchestra. So, at that time I started to do a little bit of conducting. Later on in the late 60’s, I was studying music education at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Music. It was really good for me because I learned how to play most of the instruments in an orchestra. At that time, I also met a friend who got me involved with the New Music Ensemble at the university, which was coordinated by John Beckwith. Inspired by this, I started writing music in graphic notation form, shapes, blocks of shapes or dots and lines crossing, which would form the basis of my improvisational efforts…