For Immediate Release on June 17, 2020

Esprit Orchestra Announces First RBC Associate Composer/Conductor
Program, Names Eugene Astapov to the Role

Esprit Orchestra is thrilled to announce the launch of its inaugural RBC Associate Composer/Conductor Program. This program will provide mentoring and practical, professional leadership training and experience for an emerging conductor who is also a composer. This two-year position includes opportunities to write a new work for the full orchestra, to conduct selected pieces at public concerts, to interact with Canadian and international composers, and to connect with stakeholders, audiences and the media.

Esprit has appointed Eugene Astapov, a Toronto-based composer, to take on the role of Esprit’s RBC Associate Composer/Conductor for the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 seasons. Astapov has participated with the Esprit team over the past several seasons as a commissioned composer as well as a mentor to students enrolled in our Creative Sparks program; he was a participant of Creative Sparks himself as a young high school student before going on to study composition at the Julliard and Eastman schools of music. Astapov is the Grand Prize winner of the 2019 SOCAN Foundation’s Young Composer Awards, and holds a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree from the University of Toronto.

“I am thrilled to have been appointed Esprit’s inaugural Composer/Conductor Associate,” said Astapov, of his new role. “One of my foremost artistic goals is to nurture and promote the music of living composers. With Esprit Orchestra’s platform as Canada’s premier institution for championing contemporary music, I will make it my mission to assist in presenting cutting edge performances of the highest caliber, inclusive of all styles and languages, ensuring great diversity and representation of artistic voices from every cultural background.”

Astapov brings a fresh perspective as an emerging composer and will be a valuable addition to the Esprit team under the mentorship of Founding Music Director and Conductor, Alex Pauk. Astapov will shadow the Music Director in every aspect of artistic leadership and score study, will conduct rehearsals and parts of main stage concerts and will play an important part in planning, programming and conducting Esprit’s New Wave Festival for young composers. Pauk states, “Eugene is an excellent match for this initiative and will help advance Esprit’s connection to the world of emerging composers. His well-crafted music has lasting value and he has proven potential to make a strong impact as a conductor of new music.”

Esprit’s RBC Associate Composer/Conductor Program is made possible with generous support from the RBC Foundation through the RBC Emerging Artists Project, enabling Esprit to establish this program as a significant component in the development of young artists.