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Fred Ho's Fanfare To Life08:30

This article is more than 10 years old.
Radical musician and composer Fred Ho (Roger Adam Mayer)
Radical musician and composer Fred Ho (Roger Adam Mayer)

With his flashy Afro-Asian style, Fred Ho looks like what he has often been described as: a radical. His music stretches the boundaries of jazz, pop, Chinese traditional music, and more recently, contemporary classical.

His politics are equally radical. Raised in Amherst and educated at Harvard in the 70s, Ho is a self-described "un-apologetic Marxist." He's also a nudist, and he wears a small triangular patch of hair on his head. He says it's a gesture of solidarity with feminism.

And here's another thing about Fred Ho: he has advanced colo-rectal cancer, and he sees his struggle with the disease as being one-in-the-same with his struggle against capitalism.

That is, in fact, the subject of a new composition of his that will be premiered Wednesday at the Tanglewood Festival of  Contemporary Music in the Berkshires. That day will mark the fifth anniversary of his diagnoses. He says the old Fred Ho died that August day in 2006.


  • Fred Ho, saxophonist, composer, arranger, bandleader, and writer


This segment aired on August 3, 2011.