b. 1966, Hong Kong)

Melissa Hui was born in Hong Kong and raised in North Vancouver, British Columbia. Initially inspired by the haunting music of the African pygmies and Japanese gagaku court orchestra, she strives to create a personal music of ethereal beauty, intimate lyricism, and raucous violence.

Her works have been performed throughout North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia, including performances by the American Composers Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, California EAR Unit, Esprit Orchestra (Toronto), Taiwan Symphony Orchestra, and at International Gaudeamus Music Week (Amsterdam), ISCM festivals in Switzerland and Croatia, Théatre de la Ville (Paris), Festival Sons d'Hiver (France), Merkin Hall, Focus Festival, Music at the Anthology in New York City, Festival Internacional Cervantino (Mexico), Pacific Music Festival (Japan), Spoleto Festival, and L.A. Philharmonic's Green Umbrella series, among others.

She received her doctorate from Yale University and a masters degree from the California Institute of the Arts. Her mentors include Mel Powell, Jacob Druckman, Martin Bresnick, Morton Subotnick and Earl Kim.

Her commissions include works for the Oregon Symphony, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Kronos Quartet, St. Lawrence String Quartet, New Millennium Ensemble and Essential Music (NYC), Ensemble Antipodes (Switzerland), Dogs of Desire (of Albany Symphony), Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, New Music Concerts (Toronto), the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne and the Société de Musique Contemporaine du Québec (Montréal), Melody of China/Citywinds (San Francisco), Tapestry New Opera Works, and a soundtrack for the Oscar-nominated documentary, Sunrise Over Tiananmen Square.

Now living in Montreal, she was a member of the composition faculty at Stanford University from 1994-2004.

Artist Compositions


Premiere Title of Commission Listen
02/11/2020 Pimooteewin: The Journey Listen Close

In this acclaimed and ground-breaking work, the first oratorio ever to be written in the Cree language, Weesageechak and Misigoo bemoan the departure of the living to the land of the dead. They travel to the magic island where the Spirits of the Dead dance by the light of the moon, held up by Atheegis the Frog.

04/22/2004 Fred and John Were Having Tea (When I Dropped By) Listen Close

Hui uses traditional gestures idiomatic to the piano trio to translate and transform the original theme. Her piece contains virtuosic lines for all instruments, each of which exists alone, and within, a densely contrapuntal texture.