Alex Ho (b.1993) is a British-Chinese composer based in London. Described as "a remarkable experience" and "by far the most emotionally engaged" (Schmopera), his music often explores social and cultural issues, and ranges from orchestral, ensemble, vocal, choral, and solo instrumental pieces, to works for ensembles of Chinese and western instruments, to pieces for plastic bags, table-tennis players, and audience participation. He has collaborated on many interdisciplinary projects, not least with movement/dance, architecture, glass sculpture, and VR design. Alex's first (non-)opera, Untold, premiered in 2019 with support from Arts Council England, Help Musicians UK, Sound and Music, and Snape Maltings, and was awarded the George Butterworth Award 2020 from Sound and Music for "an outstanding new work".
Commission highlights include two chamber pieces for the London Symphony Orchestra (2019, 2020), a commission for erhu and orchestra from the Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra (2016), vocal commissions from Royal Opera House (2020) and National Opera Studio (2020), a digital piece using home-made sounds with stop motion animation co-commissioned by Music Theatre Wales and London Sinfonietta (2020), a site-specific work for the Barbican Centre commissioned by Musicity (2019), and a commission for traditional Chinese string quartet from Silk String Quartet (2018).
The 2020/21 season includes selection for artist development programmes with Festival d'Aix-en-Provence, Opéra Orchestre National Montpellier, and National Youth Choirs of Great Britain, alongside a miniature for solo double bass commissioned by BBC Radio 3, a new sextet for Riot Ensemble for Crossroads Festival, Salzburg, a piece for solo sheng for Wu Wei, a commission from the Villiers Quartet, performances of Say Hi for chamber ensemble and audience participation by London Sinfonietta, and a new commission for sinfonietta, two conductors, and audience participation from Nevis Ensemble. Alex has also been announced as a Sound Generator Artist with Sound UK to develop a new inter-disciplinary piece responding to the racialized experiences of Chinese communities during COVID-19.
Alex was joint-winner of the Philip Bates Composition Competition in 2016, one of Sound and Music's 'New Voices 2018', a Help Musicians UK Fusion Fund Artist in 2019, and one of the LSO's 'Soundhub' composers from 2018-2020. His music has been heard in venues across the UK, Canada, Italy, Germany and China, on platforms including SoundState Festival (Southbank Centre, London), Sound Unbound (Barbican Centre, London), Hearing China (Shanghai Symphony Hall, Shanghai), Chinese Arts Now (LSO St. Luke's, London), nonclassical (London), Snape Maltings, Cheltenham Music Festival, Oxford Lieder Festival, HighScore Festival (Pavia, Italy), and BBC Late Junction.
Additional appearances include features on British Music Collection's '50 Things', a series offering "a bold new perspective on the recent history of new music in the UK" celebrating BMC's 50th anniversary; Oxford University's 'Race and Resistance' programme, bringing together "researchers, students, and activists in the history, literature, and culture of anti-racist movements across the modern world", and interviews on Soho Radio, New Ratio Podcast and the Classical Music Pod. Alex curated a blog series for British Music Collection investigating the relationship between transnational identity and composition released in July 2020.
In 2019, Alex co-founded Tangram, an artist collective growing transnational community by creatively celebrating Chinese cultures. Made up of researchers, composers and performers of Chinese and western instruments, Tangram won Nonclassical's Battle of the Bands 2019, were recipients of Chinese Arts Now's Artist Development Bursary 2019, and are Associate Ensemble at SOAS University of London. Most recently, they have been awarded the inaugural Live Work Fund from Jerwood Arts.
Alex studied Music at Oxford University and graduated with first-class honours in 2016 before completing a master’s in composition at Cambridge University in 2017 where he was awarded the Arthur Bliss Prize in Composition for his final portfolio that attained the highest mark across the university. He is currently studying for a doctorate at the Royal College of Music with a full AHRC scholarship (LAHP Studentship supported by RCM). Alex is hugely grateful for the support he has received to further his musical development from Arts Council England, Help Musicians UK, PRS Foundation, RVW Trust, Les Azuriales Opera Trust, Susie Thompson and Jesus College, Cambridge.