Pauk has written film and television scores as well as many pieces for Toronto's Esprit Orchestra, which he founded in 1981 and which focuses on contemporary music.
A graduate of the University of Toronto Faculty of Music, Pauk moved to Vancouver in 1973 and established the new music group Days Months and Years to Come. After further studies in Japan and Europe, he moved to Toronto.
"A passionate and visionary conductor, artistic director, composer and educator, Alex Pauk has demonstrated remarkable skills in the arts of initiative, risk-taking and the building and promotion of a leading Canadian arts organization, Esprit Orchestra, which is recognized around the world," the jury said in a statement released by the Canada Council.
"A fervent believer in the richness and vitality of Canadian new music, he is a cutting-edge leader in the cultivation and presentation of contemporary music, in Canada and abroad. His true brilliance has emerged in the way that he has introduced new audiences ... to the joys of exploring uncharted terrain ... Alex Pauk is a true champion of new music."
Two Molson Prizes, established in 1964 and now worth C$50,000 each, are awarded every year to distinguished Canadians, one in the arts and the other in the social sciences or humanities. The winner of last year's Molson Prize in the Arts was writer Nicole Brossard. University of Waterloo philosophy professor Paul Thagard won the other award this year.
The Molson Prize will be presented to Alex Pauk at an Esprit Orchestra concert in this fall.