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Melissa Hui: Biography

Melissa Hui
1966 -
Region: Québec

Melissa Hui

Melissa Hui was born in Hong Kong and raised in North Vancouver, British Columbia. She received her doctorate from Yale University and masters degree from the California Institute of the Arts. Her mentors include Mel Powell, Jacob Druckman, Martin Bresnick, Morton Subotnick and Earl Kim.

Initially inspired by the haunting music of the African pygmies and Japanese gagaku court orchestra, she strives to create a personal music of ethereal beauty, intimate lyricism, and raucous violence.

Her commissions include works for the Oregon Symphony, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Kronos Quartet, St. Lawrence String Quartet, New Millennium Ensemble and Essential Music (NYC), Ensemble Antipodes (Switzerland), Dogs of Desire (of Albany Symphony), Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, New Music Concerts (Toronto), the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne and the Société de Musique Contemporaine du Québec (Montréal), Melody of China/Citywinds (San Francisco), Tapestry New Opera Works, and a soundtrack for the Oscar-nominated documentary, Sunrise Over Tiananmen Square.

Her works have been performed throughout North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia, including performances by the American Composers Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, California EAR Unit, Esprit Orchestra (Toronto), Taiwan Symphony Orchestra, and at International Gaudeamus Music Week (Amsterdam), ISCM festivals in Switzerland and Croatia, Théatre de la Ville (Paris), Festival Sons d'Hiver (France), Merkin Hall, Focus Festival, and Music at the Anthology in New York City, Festival Internacional Cervantino (Mexico), Pacific Music Festival (Japan), Spoleto Festival, and L.A. Philharmonic's Green Umbrella series, among others.

With the Common Sense Composers Collective, founded in 1993, Melissa has collaborated with the New Millennium Ensemble, Dogs of Desire of the Albany Symphony, Meridian Arts Ensemble, American Baroque, Common Sense ensemble, and Essential Music. Two discs are available: a self-titled debut on CRI Emergency Music and The Shock of the Old with American Baroque on Santa Fe New Music.

She has received awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard University, Aaron Copland Fund, Meet the Composer, Opera.ca, ASCAP and Canada Council. Melissa won the Grand Prize of the CBC Young Composers' Competition and du Maurier/WSO Canadian Composers Competition, first prizes at SOCAN and ProCAN competitions, and was a finalist of the International Gaudeamus Music Competition. Her works are recorded on CRI, UMMUS, Santa Fe New Music, Centredisc, and Nisapa. Her most recent CD of solo and chamber works, And blue sparks burn, was released by Centredisc in 2006.

Current projects include commissioned works for Ensemble Sospeso (NYC) and an oratorio based on a Cree myth with librettist Tomson Highway for Soundstreams Canada.

Now living in Montreal, she was a member of the composition faculty at Stanford University from 1994-2004.


Click here to listen to all works by Melissa Hui