A Conversation with Award-Winning Canadian Composer Alice Ho

Some interesting events happening in Taiwan coming up! If you are in Taipei, hope you can attend!

I have known the award-winning Canadian composer Alice Ho for about 30 years(!) now – she was my piano teacher, and then became a dear friend. I managed to chat with her for a few moments before she and her husband, the renowned Canadian composer, Dr. Ka Nin Chan, boarded their flight to Taiwan:

CMI: Can you tell us about your trip to Taiwan?

Alice: There are 2 events: On Dec. 7th, Ka Nin and I will present a joint lecture at the Taiwan National University of the Arts on Canadian music, and our own works that are influenced by Chinese culture. On Dec. 11th, I will attend the world premiere of “Rebirth”, commissioned by the Little Giant Chinese Chamber Orchestra through a grant by Canada Council for the Arts. They will also perform “Buddha’s Song”, another work of mine.

CMI: The lecture sounds very interesting!

Alice: I will include “The Monkiest King”, “Lesson of Daji”, and “Rebirth” in my talk. I also plan to show a video of the recording session of “The Monkiest King”. Ka Nin will talk about immigrants, and how Chinese culture influences his music. I will cover “What is Canadian music?” and the Canadian music scene.

CMI: How much of your Chinese roots do you feel is in your writing?

Alice: Depending on the project, some are 80-100%, but some has none.

There is a piece that I wrote for Chinese harp and a Kunqu artist in Beijing that is 100% Chinese based – a depiction of an ancient Chinese poem and melodically very folk-like. It is called “Moon Lament”, and describes the lament of a moon goddess for her forbidden love with a mortal man:

Boarding now – talk later!

CMI: Thanks, Alice! We look forward to hearing all about your trip after your return.

gCO 小巨人絲竹樂團
Chih-Sheng Chen