Jubilation of Spring – Alice Ping Yee Ho

When was it composed?
The work we will hear today is based on an earlier piece for strings and timpani created in 1991 for the Toronto Chinese Youth Orchestra.  Alice Ho expanded the piece in 2014 for the Montréal Chamber Orchestra.

When was it premiered?
The Montréal Chamber Orchestra gave the first performance on June 2, 2015 at Bourgie Concert Hall in the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts.

What instruments does Alice Ho use?
2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons – 2 horns, 2 trumpets – timpani, percussion, strings

How long does the piece last?
9 minutes

Where does the title come from?
Jubilation of Spring is based on the legend of the origins of the Chinese Spring Festival or as we know it the Lunar New Year.  It was said that in ancient times “Nian” a ferocious monster preyed on people at the end of every year.  People believed that this demon was afraid of the colour red, fire and the loud noises.  In an effort to ward off this evil creature people began to put red paper streamers on their gates, set off firecrackers and beat bamboo sticks and gongs.  The custom of celebrating Chunjie has continued for over four thousand years until today.

How does the composer integrate this Eastern tradition with Western music?
Alice Ho writes that ‘The festive and uplifting spirit of the composition depicts the various “old” traditions celebrating hard work, bringing good tidings and prosperity. My intent is to incubate “Non Western” elements into a Western ensemble with a personal childhood nostalgic reference to “Cantonese” folk style. The composition also symbolizes the “coming together” of different cultures and traditions embraced by our metropolitan society.’

Is there anywhere to get a preview of the piece?
A performance by the Montréal Chamber Orchestra conducted by Wanda Kaluzny is available on SoundCloud:

Alice Ping Yee Ho

“Colors and tonality are two attractive resources to me: they form certain mental images that connect to audiences in a very basic way.”

  • Hong Kong born Alice Ping Yee Ho was the winner of the 2014 PEISO Composers Competition with Ocean Child which premiered in November of that year.
  • Many of her compositions have been recorded including The Lesson of Da Ji, which won the 2013 Dora Mavor Moore Award for best new opera.
  • Her works have been performed at New Music festivals throughout the world by an array of the finest performers of the genre including the Penderecki String Quartet, Evelyn Glennie, Robert Aitken and Duo Concertante.
  • Her most recent opera The Monkiest King commissioned by the Canadian Opera Children’s Chorus to celebrate their 50th anniversary in 2018. It has been recorded and will be released in the spring of this year.

More information about Alice Ping Yee Ho and her work as a composer and pianist may be found on her website:




2016 © PEI Symphony Orchestra | All Rights Reserved