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COLLECTION Identifier: Ms. Coll. 142

Fred Ho manuscript scores, performance programs, and other material, 1991-2011.


Manuscript scores and related materials of American composer and social activist Fred Wei-han Ho.


  • Creation: 1991-2011

Conditions Governing Use

Collection is open for research; no commercial use.


1 boxes

This collection contains copies of manuscript scores as well as a small number of related and supporting materials including programs, pamphlets, news clippings, and photographs.

Biographical / Historical

Fred Ho (b. Fred Wei-han Houn Palo Alto, CA, 10 August 1957; d. Brooklyn, NY, 12 April 2014). Chinese-American composer, baritone saxophonist, activist and Marxist. His music and radical politics, both discovered by the age of 14, were inseparable and dominated his life. “All music is political,” he explained, “whether the artist is conscious of it or not. I subscribe to the interpenetration of ideas and material life. I talk the walk.” Ho was known for a unique musical style that fuses elements of traditional Chinese and African-American music with jazz to create a rich, multicultural, multidimensional sound.

He attended Harvard University, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in sociology in 1979. By the time he entered Harvard, at twenty, Ho had already joined, and left, the Nation of Islam. Ideologically, he was a “yellow nationalist” until the summer after his freshman year, when he joined the I Wor Kuen, an Asian-American radical group, initially modeled after the Black Panthers, which morphed into the League of Revolutionary Struggle. Ho painstakingly converted to Marxism and quickly came to regard the IWK as his family.

Ho moved to New York in the early ’80s to pursue a career as a musician. He recorded more than fifteen albums and founded the Afro Asian Music Ensemble in 1982. In 1984, he founded the publishing company Transformation Art Publisher. Three years later in 1990, Ho started the Monkey Orchestra and co-founded the Brooklyn Sax Quartet with David Bindmanin in 1997, and Caliente! Circle Around the Sun (with poets Magdalena Gomez and Raul Salinas), among others. Ho became the youngest person as well as first Asian American to receive the Duke Ellington Distinguished Artist Lifetime Achievement Award in 1989. Later in 2009, Ho was a recipient of the Harvard Arts Medal as well as a 2009-10 resident of the Peter Ivers Visiting Artist program.

Physical Location

Merritt Room

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Fred Ho arranged to give this collection to the Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library in 2012.

Related Materials

Additional material may be found in related collections at other institutions:Fred Ho Papers, Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut

Processed by:

Dhyana Berry

Fred Ho manuscript scores, performance programs, and other material, 1991-2011.
Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library, Harvard College Library
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library Repository

The Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library is the primary repository of musical materials at Harvard. The Music Library’s collecting mission is to serve music teaching and research programs in the Music Department and throughout the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. In addition, it supports the musical needs of the broader Harvard community as well as an international scholarly constituency. We collect books, musical scores, serial titles, sound recordings and video formats, microforms, and rare and archival materials that support research in a wide variety of musical disciplines including historical musicology, music theory, ethnomusicology, composition, and historically informed performance practice, as well as interdisciplinary areas related to music. The special collections include archival collections from the 19th, 20th and 21st century.

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