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Long Biography

Alex Ho (b.1993) is a British-Chinese composer based in London whose music has been hailed for its "ingenious musical and theatrical dramaturgy" (Critics' Choice, Theater Krant Netherlands), "impressive balance of sonic embrace and intellectual poise" (Opera Today), and "coherent individual voice with a breadth of styles, genres and instrumental disciplines" (UK Critics' Circle). Alex's projects range from opera, orchestral, ensemble, vocal, choral, and solo works, to pieces for ensembles of Chinese and western instruments, to compositions for plastic bags, table-tennis players, and audience participation. Alex is Artist-in-Residence at Opéra Orchestre National Montpellier, Associate Composer at Oxford International Song Festival (formerly Oxford Lieder Festival), and co-director of Tangram who are Associate Artists at LSO St Luke's. He is supported by Glyndebourne Opera's three-year residency, Balancing the Score, and is recipient of the PRS Composers’ Fund 2022 and the RPS Drummond Fund 2023.

Alex has a particular interest in stage and interdisciplinary work. His music theatre piece, Untold, co-created with Olivier-nominated choreographer Julia Cheng and produced with Muziektheater Transparant, premiered at Concertgebouw Brugge and O. Festival Rotterdam to critical acclaim and won the FEDORA Opera Prize 2023 presented at Opéra national de Paris. His first chamber opera commission from Opéra Orchestre National Montpellier, Étape par étape, premiered on the main stage in September 2022 with six sold-out performances. His digital piece for narration, stop-motion animation, and found sounds co-created with theatre-maker Elayce Ismail, AMAZON, won the UK Critics' Circle Young Talent Award 2021 for its "ingenious use of found sounds [making it] one of the most original multi-media works to come out of lockdown". Alex was also nominated for a Scottish New Music Award 2021 for his music theatre piece, Breathe and Draw, scored for two conductors, sinfonietta, and audience participation which was lauded as "impressively inclusive" and a "fresh, different idea, that captured the imagination".

The 2023/24 season includes the premiere of a new installation opera, Séisme,  for the main stage of Opéra Orchestre National Montpellier, a 40' song cycle for Hugh Cutting and Dylan Perez commissioned by Oxford International Song Festival, the live premiere of Breathe and Draw by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, a chamber commission for Glyndebourne's Autumn tour, and two new Tangram productions at LSO St Luke's.

Commission highlights include a double bass concerto for the London Philharmonic Orchestra (2022), a new orchestral piece to unveil the 2022/23 season at Opéra Orchestre National Montpellier, 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 Het Concertgebouw (2023), the Royal Opera House (2022), and National Opera Studio (2020), a site-specific work for the Barbican Centre commissioned by Musicity (2019), a commission for traditional Chinese string quartet from the Silk String Quartet (2018/21), an open score piece for four instruments and audience participation commissioned and premiered by Tangram at LSO St Luke's (2020) and subsequently performed at Southbank Centre by London Sinfonietta, a miniature for solo double bass commissioned by BBC Radio 3 (2020) as part of their 'Postcards from Composers' series, and further particularly joyful commissions from Manchester Camerata (2022), Riot Ensemble (2021), Nevis Ensemble (2020), and National Youth Choirs of Great Britain (2021).

photo credit: Fabian Schobert

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, one of the LSO's 'Soundhub' composers from 2018-2020, winner of the George Butterworth Award 2020, a Sound Generator Artist 2021, and a BBC Music Magazine Rising Star 2022. His music has been heard in venues across the UK, Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and China, on platforms including SoundState Festival (Southbank Centre, London), Sound Unbound (Barbican Centre, London), Hearing China (Shanghai Symphony Hall, Shanghai), O. Festival Rotterdam, Chinese Arts Now (LSO St. Luke's, London), nonclassical (London), Snape Maltings, Cheltenham Music Festival, Oxford Lieder Festival, Crossroads Festival (Salzburg, Austria), and BBC Late Junction.

photo credit: Marcel Lennartz

Additional appearances include features on BBC Free Thinking, I CARE IF YOU LISTEN, VAN Magazine, 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, a music collective made up of researchers, composers and performers of Chinese and western instruments. Nominated for the RPS Young Artist Award 2023, Tangram won Nonclassical's Battle of the Bands 2019 and were recipients of Chinese Arts Now's Artist Development Bursary, the inaugural Live Work Fund from Jerwood Arts and Genesis Foundation's Kickstarter Fund. Their productions have been described as "powerfully theatrical...unexpected and refreshing" (Tempo Journal), "more like a festival than a concert" (I CARE IF YOU LISTEN) and "as satisfying as a full length opera...with their inventive, sophisticated musical language" (Critics Magazine).

Alex studied Music at Oxford University and graduated with first-class honours before completing a master’s in composition at Cambridge University 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, Fidelio Charitable Trust, Garrick Charitable Trust, Les Azuriales Opera Trust, and Susie Thompson.

See List of Works or Contact.

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