The SPOGreatMusic Podcast Series: S01E10

Release Date: February 5, 2021

China has a rich musical history, but it is constructed differently than music in the western world. This episode will look at the ways composers have combined traditional Chinese music with western classical music, including a discussion of the Oscar winning movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, the Butterfly Lover’s Violin Concerto and more. Featuring interviews with conductor and composer Tak Ng Lai and composer Kevin Zi-Xiao He.

Here’s some additional information and pictures on our special guest interviewees for this episode:


Tak Ng Lai, Composer & Conductor

Tak Ng Lai is founding director, and conductor of Canadian Sinfonietta. He commenced his music education at the Canton Conservatory of Music in China. He furthered his studies in Hong Kong and was a member of the first violin section in the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra before completing his studies at the Vienna Conservatory of Music with a joint major in violin and conducting. In 1977, along with his wife, pianist Aster Lai, he immigrated to Canada and was a participant in the Conductor’s Workshop at the University of Toronto. Lai is a past music director and conductor of both the Niagara and the Mississauga Youth Orchestras, as well as working with the Etobicoke Philharmonic for 20 years before retiring. He was the first conductor of the Canadian Chamber Academy and during his early years in Canada, he served as the assistant conductor of the Niagara Symphony Orchestra. For several years he served as the Principal Guest Conductor of the Canton Philharmonic and Choral Society. Lai has guest conducted in Europe, North America, and Asia with, among others, the Moscow Symphony, the Ural State Philharmonic, the Vancouver Symphony, the Windsor Symphony, the Niagara Symphony, the Shanghai Philharmonic, the Taiwan Symphony, the Beijing Symphony, Xiamen Philharmonic Orchestras, and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra of Bulgaria. In addition to his work with the Canadian Sinfonietta, Lai currently teaches violin, viola, and conducting in the Toronto area. You can learn more about Canadian Sinfonietta here. You can also enjoy a fabulous interview conducted by The Song of Ontario’s YouTube channel here.


Kevin Zi-Xiao He, Composer, Arranger, Performer

Kevin is a rare kind of musician and performer, as he is not only interested in classical music, he’s also interested in and empassioned in learning all about native oriental instruments and how they are best played. Kevin comes from a musical family, including his mother, Yiping Chao, who leads the SPO Women’s Choir and plays cello with the main orchestra. Kevin’s father, Eugene He, is also a talented composer and arranger. Kevin also cares a great deal about the human journey, nature, and the essence of being. Kevin has been a participant in the SPO New Generation Composers Workshop. A modern artist, you can connect more with Kevin on several platforms, including his website * Facebook * Instagram * Soundcloud * Twitter * YouTube


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