the album Vincent Ho: The Shaman & Arctic Symphony (Live), consisting of the live recordings of The Shaman and Arctic Symphony featuring the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Dame Evelyn Glennie, and the Nunavut Sivuniksavut Performers. In 2015 Canadian piano trio Gryphon Trio commissioned a new work from Ho. The resulting work, Gryphon Realms, was premiered in December of that year, with each movement based on the personalities of each player of the Gryphon Trio, along with gryphon mythology. Ho has recently explored elements of Chinese music and culture as part of his compositional development. In 2016 a co-commission from the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra and the National Chinese Orchestra Taiwan resulted in Ho’s work for Chinese Orchestra, Journey of the Red Phoenix. The following year, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra commissioned and gave the premiere performance of Ho’s Rejuvenation: A Taoist Journey for narrator, solo pipa, and orchestra, featuring renowned Chinese pipa player Wu Man. Ho’s music is rich and energetic—a unique integration of influences. His work often demonstrates the capacity to coherently synthesise and convey the felt inspiration incited by a multitude of artistic mediums. This amalgamation of influences is evidenced in Four Paintings by Leestemaker (2005), which musically construes the ‘murky,’ unsettling qualities communicated in the paintings of Leestemaker, and Arctic Symphony, where electroacoustic material is utilised in order to more effectively allow the listener to intuit the natural soundscapes from which the work emerged, as well as the sense of wonder experienced by the composer. Additionally, traditional classical music forms and the physical properties of the instruments and ensembles for which Ho writes are all inherent influences in his diverse and creative output. His music is sensual, sonorous and richly textured, and Ho gives considerable attention to the audience’s experience of his intricate sound-worlds. Latest information about the composer may be found at www.vinceho.com. PE168 – iv
Kickin’ It (2016) I. Twister II. Filigree III. Cadenza IV. Burn Ho explores a range of performance practices and playing techniques in Kickin’ It. Movements packed with precariousness and frenzy sit alongside others that bathe in the resonant spaces between gestures. Ho’s compositional approach here provides performers with an opportunity to display their versatility, as Kickin’ It demands not only virtuosic technique but creativity in interpreting more improvisatory performance realms. The first movement, Twister, bolts out of the gate in a stream of crunching semiquavers from the piano. Over top of this staggers the drum kit, subverting the piano’s pulse with tuplets and dotted rhythms. The momentum is unrelenting as the piano’s registral range opens up to create wide, wave-like contours. The second half of the movement is dominated by soloistic material being passed between the duo before finally returning to a variation of the movement’s opening material. By contrast, the second movement Filigree features spacious, resonant percussion techniques as cymbals are scraped, rubbed and tapped with fingertips. The piano thickens the atmosphere with tremolo chords and woozy, rubato statements. The departure from Twister’s tight rhythmic interplay continues in the third movement, Cadenza. As its title suggests, this senza misura movement allows the performers the freedom to improvise a gradual transition from low to high intensity, responding to one another’s gestures and using whatever playing techniques they desire. The final movement, Burn, is a return to the high-tension state of the opening movement. Streams of clustered pitches flow while the drum kit propels the movement along, playing with rhythm via tumbling fills and sliding between simple and compound meters. PE168 – v
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