Composer/Pianist
line decor
  
line decor
 
 
 
 

 
 
Selected Press Releases/Reviews

Newspaper

Photography by Bo Huang

__________________________________________________________________________________

"Dark Waters" for chamber orchestra reviewed by Jean Ballard Terepka in Concerts, June 6, 2016, New York. Theatre Scene.Net- SONOS Chamber Orchestra.

"Ho’s music is both cerebral and sensuous; her compositional precision is an elegant instrument for the exploration of nature’s surprises, turning paradox and the unexpected into translucence."

 

Reviews of New CD “ The Lesson of Da Ji”

https://www.musiccentre.ca/node/136770

http://www.thewholenote.com/images/stories/2015/11/25/discoveries_2104/01_vocal/05_Ho_Legend_of_Da_Ji.jpg

Opera News, New York, May 2016. Critic's Choice by Joshua Rosenblum -

"... Ho's musical lamguage is a startling original three-way mélange of Baroque, traditional Chinese and contemporary Western idioms. The sung dialogue(libretto is in English) between the two illicit lovers is strikingly stylized, as if they were acting out a ritual while having a conversation. Rhythmic energy and fresh, exotic instrumental colors spill from every bar in Ho's expertly deployed mashup of instruments from different cultures - pipa, zhonggruan and erhu with lute, recorders and harpsichord, plus modern strings and ominously pounding percussion."

The Lesson of Da Ji: A New Canadian Opera Recording You Should Know About
Article posted by Allan Morris in Classical CBC Radio:
http://music.cbc.ca/#!/genres/Classical/blogs/2015/12/The-Lesson-of-Da-Ji-A-New-Canadian-Opera-Recording-You-Should-Know-About

“….It all works beautifully: the fusion of different cultural traditions, the vocal roles with great expression and range, and the modern musical language. It's no surprise that The Lesson of Da Ji collected the Dora Mavor Moore Award for outstanding new musical/opera in 2013…..Allegra Swanson, the producer for Centrediscs, Canada's living music label for Canadian contemporary concert music, is delighted with the new release: "We’re so pleased to have another opera on the Centrediscs label — it’s an under-represented genre in our offering. Alice Ho is so easy to work with and very talented; she’s a thoughtful composer, and cares deeply about the integrity of the work. From the striking design to the brilliant blend of traditional Chinese instruments and Baroque instruments, we’re very proud of this release."

Andrew Timar in the Toronto's "Whole Note" music magazine (December 2015):
http://www.thewholenote.com/index.php/booksrecords2/25753-alice-ping-yee-ho-the-lesson-of-da-ji-toronto-masque-theatre-larry-beckwith

In her music theatre work The Lesson of Da Ji, Hong Kong-born Toronto composer Alice Ping Yee Ho has struck a fine, if not always easy, cultural balance between features of classical Beijing (Peking) opera and the European masque tradition, as interpreted in 21st-century Canada.
It is no mean feat to present eight Canadian voices supported by the string tonalities of the Chinese zhongruan, erhu, pipa and zheng. It is even more complex when all that is seamlessly meshed with the sonority of the European baroque lute, harpsichord, viola da gamba, violin and recorders, plus a percussion battery. Ho does just that admirably, presenting along the way a bracing new hybrid soundscape to enjoy….”

____________________________________________________________________________________

Michael Colgrass, Pulitzer Prize Winning Composer (on premiere of Venom of Love at Fleck Dance Theatre, Toronto Harbourfront Centre), May 17, 2014:

"....Overall I would say it' a masterful job of theatrical writing, but not only theatrical. I think the score could almost stand on its own for interest. The music was simple, never complicated, and all the more effective for that. Soprano and percussion are an inspired combination. My hat's off to you.

____________________________________________________________________________________

Reviews of new CD "Glsitening Pianos":

Centrediscs CMCCD 19714

Brian C. Thompson. CAML REVIEW / REVUE DE L’ACBM 42, NO. 3 (November / Novembre 2014)

"Glistening Pianos is an important addition to Alice Ping Yee Ho’s discography. The selections give a good sense of her range as a composer for small groups of instruments and her skill in writing for the piano. Long a mainstay of the concert world, the piano duet is once again shown to be alive and well as a medium of contemporary expression in the hands of performers as capable as Wong and Koga."

Tina Kiik. The WholeNote, published March 27, 2014

There is a plethora of exquisite aural delights in this new release featuring the music of Hong Kong-born Canadian composer Alice Ping Yee Ho. As to be expected from the Canadian Music Centre Centrediscs label, the usual high production qualities, first class performance, musicianship and strong compositions create a great listening experience. The five very distinct and contrasting pieces offer a superb cross section of styles, tonal sensibilities and musical forays, making Glistening Pianos the perfect calling card for the composer...."

http://wwew.thewholenote.com/index.php/booksrecords2/moderncontempo/24811-glistening-pianos-music-by-alice-ping-yee-ho

Jason Carson. Canadian Music Centre's NOTATION, spring issue, 2014

....The CD includes very strong compositions by Ho, and just enough variety in instrumentation, musical features, and extended techniques to fill out the needed sonic variety. I am pleased to say that this release meets and surpasses even this reviewer’s lofty expectations. ....Overall, I would rank this record highly given the fantastic performances, and the variety with a small number of instruments. The piano duo format also gives great flexibility for extended techniques, with one piano being relegated to noise duty while the other plays normally. Most importantly however, Ho’s music demonstrates a keen sense of structure. Ideas flow like water: a silent drop that ripples out over a calm lake, an echoing drop and a reverberant trickle from underground waterways, or the powerful surge and crash of a waterfall."

http://issuu.com/canadianmusiccentre/docs/notations_spring_march20_final/1?e=10808708/7175405, page 28

____________________________________________________________________________________

Reviews of new opera "Lesson of Da Ji":

Lesson of Da Ji Da Ji and Bo Yi

Paula Citron. Opera Canada, Summer 2013

The Lesson of Love has a cracking good story and fascinating music that blends Chinese, Baroque, and other Western forms. …. Ho mined her music influence to draw out every point of drama.  ….Ho has produced a wide range of evocative music, from the beautiful love duet and Bo Yi’s song to the harrowing sounds and heavy percussion of the King’s revenge. If the Chinese instruments were given pride of place, it was for good reason…  One sincerely hopes that the Lesson of Da Ji finds a permanent home on the opera stage."

 

Christopher Hoile. Stage - Door . May 11, 2013

"Composer Alice Ping Yee Ho has created a gorgeous score for the opera by combining the six Western period instruments of the TMT Ensemble with three instrumentalists playing traditional Chinese instruments – the guzheng, the gaohu and erhu, and the pipa and zhonggruan.  The percussionist’s kit is significantly augmented with a wide range of gongs, cymbals, drums, wooden blocks and rattles.   Ho not only beautifully combines the timbres of the Eastern and Western instruments, but amalgamates the influences of French Impressionism, Viennese expressionism and traditional Chinese song into unique, highly attractive medium. ....Alice Ping Yee Ho creates music of such expressivity and piquancy for the mixed ensemble in Da Ji, that it would be wonderful if she, Marjorie Chan and TMT could collaborate on another work based on Chinese legend.  As it is, this is an intriguing double bill that I hope TMT will revive sooner rather than later so that more people will have the chance to marvel at their achievement."

 

John Terauds . Musical Toronto/Opera Review. May 10, 2013

"Alice Ho has managed the most difficult of composerly feats, in bringing together traditional Chinese instruments with baroque-period western ones. ....Ho’s orchestration moved freely between instruments and sections of the orchestra, periodically switching into giving us mesmerising solos by one of the players. It probably helps that period Western instruments are quieter than modern ones, allowing them to balance more easily with their Chinese counterparts. Ho’s music really came to life during that final banquet scene, which also featured some very clever interplay between Chinese and Western  instruments. ... a very strong case for this opera to be presented again as soon as possible."

____________________________________________________________________________________

John Caron. Notation. August, 2013

CD review: Woman Runs With Wolves

The title track, composed by Alice Ho, is half-piece-of-music, half-ritual, full of faux throat singing, barking, inhuman background singing, and ominous foreboding rhythms. It is perhaps the most evocative piece on the CD. … The pieces by Silberberg, Ho, and Hatzis best illustrate what I think is the most remarkable feature of this CD: the great amount of variety across the repertoire but also within the pieces themselves."

 

Richard Todd. The Ottawa Citizen. March 3, 2012.

Concert Review: Thirteen Strings

-The meat of the program was a pair of pieces by the Chinese-Canadian composer Alice Ping Yee Ho. Capriccio Ballo for violin, piano and strings.... It is a strong piece and would probably seem stronger still on a second hearing...... The other Ho piece was the world premiere of a Thirteen Strings commission, The Four Arts for violin, piano, Yangqin and strings. In four movements, it is a more immediately engaging piece... and was undoubtedly the highlight of the evening.

 

Colin Eatock. The Globe and Mail: Music Review. February 1st, 2012.

Amici: Fashionista At Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto on Sunday

- Breath of Fire is a quirky piece – a cleverly crafted study in subtlety and contrast. Passages of repose, sometimes making use of unconventional instrumental techniques (windy sounds from the accordion, sliding glissandos in the cello and complex multiphonic chords in the clarinet), were set beside rhythmic passages that emerged as fragmentary little dances. As well, Ho's score has a “Swiss watch” quality to it: tightly wound, with precisely interconnected parts.

 

Stanley Fefferman. OpusOneReview: Fashionista! Amici Ensemble. January 29, 2012.

- Breath of Fire is a light, charming, melodic work, that burbles whimsically along by fits and staggers. It yields associations with natural movements like the scampering of rodents, the flitting of bats, the goofy jellywalk of pigeons, the fluttering of starlings, and the pursuit of squirrels. Into all this naturalness, Ms. Ho blends a winning, cosmopolitan touch in the style of Ravel and Poulenc. Brava! Brava!

 

Michael Colgrass, Pulitzer Prize Winning Composer (on performance of Ice Path by Toronto Symphony). November 10, 2011:

- You were the highlight of the evening.Your piece was colorful and full of rich orchestration and structurally it kept moving. The whole orchestra sounded best in your piece.

 

Robert Everett-Green. Globe and Mail, November 10, 2011.

- The concert, conducted by TSO music director Peter Oundjian... an opening performance of Ice Path, by Alice Ping Yee Ho. The craft of this piece was undeniable, especially in its orchestration, and in some of Ho’s treatments of the meandering theme that began the piece on the harp and recurred elsewhere from time to time.

 

Lawrence Cherney,artistic director of Soundstreams Canada. October 05, 2010:

-The new piece(TorQ Machine)is hot, hot! and sensual! Rhythmic chanting that was alluring and fascinating, and borrowing imaginatively from pop culture. Bravo to you and TorQ!

 

Richard Todd. The Ottawa Citizen. August 04, 2009

- Alice Ping Yee Ho's Evolving Elements, a crowd pleaser that seeks to evoke the classical four elements -- fire, water, wind and earth -- was perhaps the most solid item of the first third of the afternoon. Each of its four movements seemed more effective than the last.

________________________________________________________________________

Ming CD Reviews:

(Centrediscs/Centredisques)

     

An Interesting Experience

Music by Alice Ping Yee Ho -
CD review by PATRIC STANDFORD Music & Vision: the world's first daily classical music magazine, UK. October 22, 2010

'... musically and technically impressive ...'

 

The combining of marimba and string quartet is an attractive enterprise which requires some strong creative reinforcement to make it work. Alice Ping Yee Ho does have the imaginative resources and the delicacy of touch to succeed, and throughout the four movements of Evolving Elements --Light,Water, Wind, and Fire-- there is skilful invention and the evocation of particularly potent atmospheres. Her sound world is very largely that of percussion and the invention of 'soundscapes' of intriguing variety and sensitivity...

 

****  Uncle Dave Lewis : allmusic.com April, 2010

http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=43:203608~T1
….Ho's music has a strong affinity for the dramatic….the listener can imagine pieces such as "Wind" from Evolving Elements for marimba and string quartet (2005) as perfect for setting an eerie, menacing, and mysterious scene from a motion picture; the movement almost makes you look over your shoulder. She also has a very strong grounding in how instruments work…..Ho's Ming is reminiscent of one of the longer, purely instrumental pieces of Harry Partch, and the joyous enthusiasm of Kami nearly calls to mind Lou Harrison, both composers who fall well outside the academic mainstream….Add Ho's name to a roster of composers who are beating their own self-wrought and stubborn path out of the 20th century into something distinctly individual and accomplished in its own right.

Laima: http://reviews.wruv.org/2010/02/music-of-alice-ping-yee-ho//

posted on Feb. 23, 2010:

"A composer who seeks to provoke an emotional response using lyricisim yet exploring tonality. These works have varied percussive elements (marimba and vibraphone here) and incorporate Asian influences. Graceful, eerie, very interesting!"

I-Jen Fang PERCUSSIVE NOTES Magazine:USA. January 2010.

".... Ming is filled with sophisticated music that demonstrates Johnston’s
great percussion skills while broadening listener’s horizons in contemporary
percussion music. This CD will bring contemporary musicians inspiration and
imagination."

Piotr Grella-Mozjko. SEE Magazine: Edmonton. July 16, 2009. CD Review:
Classical Percussion
*****
Alongside Montréal’s ATMA Classique, Canadian Music Centre’s Centrediscs/Centredisques is practically our only classical label which may be considered world-class. This newest title, devoted to the percussion music of the brilliant Canadian composer Alice Ping Yee Ho, confirms Centrediscs’ hunger for greatness. If there is a classical release worthy of the Juno Award, this is the one. Ho draws her inspiration from a variety of cultures, including Chinese and Japanese folk idioms, and spins them into something very special, a style that’s undeniably far-out, modern, and progressive, yet very approachable and extremely attractive. The disc benefits from striking design and features Canadian percussion genius Beverley Johnston (who also sings), accompanied by the fantastic Penderecki String Quartet. I cannot praise it highly enough: simply perfect.

David Olds. WHOLE NOTE: 26 June 2009. DISCoveries Editor's Corner –

Ming (CMCCD 14409) features works for solo percussion by Alice Ping Yee Ho. Beverley Johnston is featured on marimba and vibraphone in the dramatic and virtuosic Forest Rain, and a full array of percussion instruments on the title track. ....This is an exhilarating addition to the discography of both Ms Johnston and Ms Ho.

____________________________________________________________________________

Stanley Fefferman. Showtimemagazine.ca Saturday, April 12th, 2008

"...Her music is drama. She is not concerned with form,but with the organic flow of imagination. The music, scored for winds, brass, percussion and piano, arises sporadically like physical gestures: spurts, dashes, snaps, strums, drums, blarings, ringings, and ejaculations of sound that echo, reverberate and fade into space. David Swan at the piano led the action and reaction with an insistent high register tremolo that vibrates like a wire in the blood. Very impressive music."

Paula Citron Classical 96.3 FM

Toronto Harbourfront Centre's New World Stage/Fresh Ground Performances. Jumblies Theatre's Bridge of One Hair , Friday, April 27, 2007

- Bridge of One Hair is, in reality, a staged cantata. Composer Alice Ping Yee Ho has written very attractive music for soloists, choir and a small musical ensemble that drives the action using the poetry of Hawa Jibril

 

Daniel Ariaratnam, The Record, May 2, 2005. Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo

- Evolving Elements by Hong Kong born composer Alice Ho was the audience favourite. Marimbist  Beverlay Johnston joined the Penderecki String Quartet to create a sonically colorful extended ensemble. Ho’s culturally significant composition is based around the Chinese word Li, meaning energy…. Ho is amomg the most important composers writing in this country. She’s a top-drawer artist giving voice to the under-represented female visible minority perspective in new music.

 

John Fleming. St Petersburg Times, Florida. Oct. 19, 2003

- …a new work called On the Wing, five minutes of colorful orchestration, soaring melody and chirpy minimalism by Alice Ho, a Canadian of Chinese descent.

 

Dan Albertson, THE LIVING COMPOSERS’ PROJECT, March 2001

- The Stringtime CD is an excellent one all-around….Alice Ho’s Caprice accomplishes much over the course of its short duration, and is a real treasure.

 

Susan Norie, Okanagan Symphony Review. May, 2001

- "The work was contemporary in nature.. it readily delivered feelings of passion and conflict... It was a powerful piece, and delivered with ample body language by Golani."

 

Craig Pearson, Windsor Star. Oct. 2000

- …the highlight of the evening in terms of virtuoso soloing was also the most historic: the world premiere of Toronto composer Alice Ho's Concerto for Viola and Bass.... But Ho's contemporary concerto was also most daring, intriguing in the anarchic conversation between the viola and the double bass, which ultimately find common ground."

 

Neil Harris, Winnipeg Free Press. Feb. 1994

- Ho's Ice Path was an elegant exercise in orchestral color. Exploring unusual combinations of instruments, she created a palette of shimmering loveliness that obviously had great appeal to the audience

 

Elaine Schmidt, the Hamilton Spectator. May, 1993

- Alice Ho reached to the sky with Under the Quavering Moon...the piece is a whimsical collage of color and emotion. In contrasting rich, full orchestra passages with clean, non vibrato single lines, Ho creates a powerful musical impression. Her work, based on a simple three-note cell, is a wealth of sounds, textures and emotion.

 

Anne Boyd, South China Morning Post, Hong Kong.

- Impetus is extremely dynamic and works through tension arising from the juxtaposition of contrasting musical materials. John Harding, viola, and Kelvin Gonrn, double bass, responded magnificently to the challenges of this virtuosic and accomplished writing.