Hope Lee received formal music training at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, McGill University in Montréal and at the Staatlich Hochschule für Musik Freiburg, Germany as a recipient of a DAAD scholarship and a Canada Council Grant. Her main teachers in composition are Bengt Hambraeus, Brian Cherney and Klaus Huber, in piano are Patrick Li, Rose Goldblatt and Louis-Phillip Pelletier.
She attended the Darmstadt Ferienkurse für Neue Musik and the Durham Oriental Music Festival in England. Both events were important in shaping her musical development. Between 1987-90, she studied Chinese traditional music and poetry, as well as computer music in Berkeley, California. Hope Lee has been invited to the first International Woman Composers Conference in Berlin, to the Künsterlerhaus Boswil in Switzerland, Die Hoege in Germany as artist- in-residence, visiting composer at the Dresdner Musikfestspiele, Queen’s University, University of Calgary and at the Wuhan Conservatory of Music in China.
Hope Lee’s work has been presented at international music festivals such as Music Today in Tokyo, World Music Days of the ISCM, Aspekte Salzburg Festival, Hong Kong Festival, International Computer Music Conference, the Scotia Festival of Music, Trieste Contemporanea International Tribune of Composers in Belgrade, CanTai Festival in Taipei, Dresdner Musikfestspiele in Germany, Latina Le form del suono Festival in Italy.
Her works have won many awards, including first prize for Nabripamo at the Scotia Festival of Music Boulez Year Composers’ Competition in 1991. Other principal works of Lee are Ballade of Endless Woe (vocal quartet, percussion ensemble, 1978-79), Onomatopoeia (chamber orchestra with children’s choir, l979-81), Melboac (harpsichord, 1983), one thousand curves ten thousand colours (1997), a multimedia presentation integrating live acoustic and electroacoustic music with computer-generated images, lights and dance, with the theme of artist’s role in the society, and Voices in Time cycle (1989-2011).
Since 1989, Lee has worked on “Voices In Time,” a cycle of 11 pieces inspired by particular pe- riods in Chinese history but also having contemporary relevance. The first nine pieces, com- pleted by 2005 and taking in periods between 2255 BC and 1911 AD, are In the Beginning Was the End; Hsieh Lu Hsing; entends, entends le passé qui marche …; Tangram; Voices in Time; Fei Yang; arrow of being, arrow of becoming; Parting at Yang Kuan; and Four Winds from Heaven. The concluding piece, and the end is the beginning, dealing with the future, was com- posed 2008-9; the tenth, Secret of the Seven Stars, representing the present – was completed in 2011. All of the pieces incorporate Chinese poetry or qin music from the period represented, and, in terms of materials, techniques, and form, seek to balance continuity and change, the cycle as a whole revealing many layers of musical and philosophical thought.
Lee’s interdisciplinary interests and her view of creativity (“an endless adventure of exploration, research, and experimentation”) are reflected in her fondness for multimedia projects. She has undertaken several such projects, including “Lumina,” a multimedia celebration of light and sound (inspired by the Gothic cathedral) held May 1988 in Toronto; “one thousand curves ten thousand colours”, a live multimedia concert bringing together acoustic and interactive electroa- coustic music with projected computer-generated images. Lee writes complex atonal music that avoids traditional forms, and is often tough, propulsive and forcefully expressive. She exploits conventional instruments imaginatively and in unusual combinations, creating colourful and evocative sonorities. Her ethnic and scientific background and her literary, philosophical and other interdisciplinary interests have greatly enriched her work. Aptly described by Michael Schulman as a “cross-cultural explorer,” she is always exploring new sounds and structures, and striving for constant growth, both within individual works and in her output as a whole.
Lee‘s work can be heard on Centrediscs, Attacca, Aurait, Redshift Music, SNE, isidorArt and UNICAL recording labels. Furore-Verlag, Germany publishes her works.