Remembering a Professor of Revolutionary Imagination

It is with much sadness that we learn of the passing of Fred Ho, a composer, musician, writer, activist and self-described “professor of revolutionary imagination.”  The Fred Ho Papers are held in Archives & Special Collections, a relationship built by Dr. Roger Buckley, professor of history and founding Director of the Asian American Studies Institute. The finding aid to the papers, prepared by the Asian American Studies Institute, describes Mr. Ho:

Fred Ho, the Asian American musician, composer, writer, and activist combines music and politics to fight discrimination and redefine American identity. He has developed a “new American multicultural music” which recognizes the diverse cultural contributions to twentieth century American music. His revolutionary compositions challenge the status quo by providing an artistically provocative vision for the future. Ho’s intent in composing music is not only to recognize different forms, but to convey anti-oppression messages that provide an alternate framework upon which American identity is defined.

A commitment to multiculturalism and diversity has not always been an integral part of Ho’s character. His coming of age as an Asian American was marked by feelings of denial, anger, and confusion about his Chinese identity. As a result, Ho has dealt with racial discrimination in different ways throughout his life, first by assimilating, then by confronting it through activism and music. Now a prominent musician, Ho works to raise social consciousness by transforming his experience into positive action.

Filmmaker Steven de Castro shares his view of the endless creativity of Fred Ho.

Mr. Ho’s obituary appears in the New York Times, April 12, 2014.  Rest in peace.

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