Born: August 10, 1957 Primary Instrument: Sax, baritone
Fred Ho is a one-of-a-kind revolutionary Chinese American baritone saxophonist, composer, writer, producer, political activist and leader of the Afro Asian Music Ensemble and the Monkey Orchestra. For two decades, he has innovated an Afro Asian New American Multicultural Music imbedded in the swingest, most soulful and transgressive forms of African American music with the musical influences of Asia and the Pacific Rim. As Larry Birnbaum writes in Down Beat Fred Ho's style is a genre onto itself, a pioneering fusion of free-jazz and traditional Chinese music that manages to combine truculence and delicacy with such natural ease that it sounds positively organic.
Ho is a prodigious composer, having written over a half dozen critically acclaimed operas, music/theater epics, cutting edge multimedia performance works, martial arts ballet, oratorios and recording over a dozen albums as a leader. Recent commissions include: the nationally toured and celebrated Voice of the Dragon; Josephine Baker's Angels from the Rainbow for Imani Winds; Suite for Matriarchal Shaman Warriors for the unique Asian zither and percussion ensemble IIIZ+ and a Jazz Commissioning Award to compose Suite Sam Furnace (in honor of the late alto saxophonist and 20 year member of the Afro Asian Music Ensemble) from Chamber Music America. The work premiered at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in the fall of 2004.
Current blockbuster music/theater projects composed by Ho include: Deadly She-Wolf Assassin at Armageddon!, a martial arts sword epic paying homage to Japanese manga and samurai cult film classics; a new opera Mr. Mystery: The Return of Sun Ra to Save Planet Earth with libretto by Quincy Troupe; and for the Apollo Theater and the Brooklyn Academy of Music 2008 Next Wave Festival Dragon vs. Eagle.
As a musical leader, Fred Ho founded the Afro Asian Music Ensemble in 1982; the Monkey Orchestra in 1990; co-founded the Brooklyn Sax Quartet with David Bindmanin 1997; and recently started Caliente! Circle Around the Sun (featuring Ho's solo baritone saxophone with poets Magdalena Gomez and Raul Salinas).
Fred Ho currently resides in Brooklyn, NY.