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Hope Lee: Biography

Hope Lee
1953 -
Region: Prairie

Hope Lee

Hope Lee is a Canadian composer of Chinese origin. As a "cross-cultural explorer", her work often reflects her interdisciplinary interests and her views of creativity as an endless adventure of exploration, research and experimentation; a challenge to one's breadth and depth. 'Things change constantly and continuously' she says, 'therefore each work should be approached from a fresh angle. Growth is a natural phenomenon reflected in my compositional technique. Not unlike disciplined organic growth - a most fascinating phenomenon - it is the secret of life, the source of true freedom.'

Hope Lee received formal music training at the McGill University in Montréal and at the Staatlich Hochschule für Musik Freiburg, Germany as a recipient of a DAAD scholarship and a Canada Council Grant. Her main teachers in composition are Bengt Hambraeus, Brian Cherney and Klaus Huber. During this period, she also attended the Darmstadt Ferienkurse fr Neue Musik and the Durham 1979 Oriental Music Festival in England. Both events were important in shaping her musical development. Between 1987-90, she studied Chinese traditional music and poetry, as well as computer music in Berkeley, California. Hope Lee has been invited to the first International Woman Composers Conference in Berlin, to the Künsterlerhaus Boswil in Switzerland and Die Hoege in Germany as artist-in-residence, visiting composer at the Dresdner Musikfestspiele, Queen's University, University of Calgary and engaged as visiting professor at the Wuhan Conservatory of Music in China.

Hope Lee's work has been presented at international music festivals such as Music Today in Tokyo, World Music Days of the ISCM, Aspekte Salzburg Festival, Hong Kong Festival, the Scotia Festival of Music, Trieste Contemporanea International Tribune of Composers in Belgrade, CanTai Festival in Taipei, the Dresdner Musikfestspiele, 2012 Halberstadt International Cage Festival, Latina Le form del suono Festival in Italy and the Tessera Music Festival “atarashii−mimi” in Tokyo. Her works have won many awards, including first prize for Nabripamo (piano, marimba, 1982) in the Scotia Festival of Music Boulez Year Composers' Competition in 1991. Other principal works of Lee are Ballade of Endless Woe (vocal quartet, percussion ensemble, 1978-79), Onomatopoeia (chamber orchestra with children's choir, l979-81), Melboac (harpsichord, 1983), one thousand curves ten thousand colours (1997), a multimedia presentation integrating live acoustic and electroacoustic music with computer-generated images, lights and dance, with the theme of artist's role in the society, the Voices in Time cycle (1989-2011), and Imaginary Garden I-VI (2013-2017).

Since 1979, Lee has researched into ancient Chinese poetry, music history, theory, and in particular the ideology, philosophy and notation of guquin (Chinese 7-string zither) music. The knowledge absorbed and material collected have integrated and become an important part of her creative voice.
In 2011, she completed her eleven-pieces Voices in Time cycle: In the Beginning was the End (accordion, harpsichord, 1989), Hsieh Lu Hsing (guzheng, di/shao/erhu, 1991), entends, entends le pass qui marche... (piano and tape, 1992), Tangram (bass clarinet, harpsichord and tape, 1992), Voices in Time (large ensemble, tape, electronics, 1992-94), arrow of being, arrow of becoming (string quartet, 1997), Fei Yang (string quartet , accordion, 2001), Parting at Yang Kuan (erhu, guzheng, marimba, 2004), four winds from heaven (women's choir, 2005), Secret of the Seven Stars (strings, accordion, percussion, 2009-11), and the end is the beginning (accordion solo, 2008-09).

The complete catalogue of Lee's works is published by Furore-Verlag in Germany.


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