Malaysian composer and environmental activist Yii Kah Hoe leaves deep impression at Claremont Colleges

Malaysian composer and environmental activist Yii Kah Hoe leaves deep impression at Claremont Colleges

In November 2015, award-winning composer and environmental activist Yii Kah Hoe led three events at the Claremont Colleges:

• the Nov. 1 “Awakening to the Environment” Concert where Kah Hoe’s piece “Forest Threnody” was performed by the Claremont Concert Choir and Claremont Chamber Choir of CMC, Harvey Mudd, Pitzer, and Scripps,
• the “Workshop for Change” on Nov. 6, a discussion-based workshop where Kah Hoe shared his approaches towards using music in environmental activism, and
• the “Artist as Activist” at CMC’s Athenaeum on Nov. 9, where Kah Hoe described being an artist and an activist as intermingled identities.

Performers receive standing ovation.
Performers receive standing ovation after the “Awakening to the Environment” Concert.

“The Workshop for Change gave the students at the five colleges a fantastic opportunity to think about how to connect art to activism,” says Albert Park, Associate Professor of History at Claremont McKenna College and Co-Principal Investigator EnviroLab Asia. Kah Hoe’s presence on campus as a musician, teacher, and agitator also encouraged cross-disciplinary dialogues.The concert, organized by Anne Harley, Associate Professor of Music at Scripps College and an EnviroLab Asia Faculty Fellow, was very well received with over 500 audience members who gave a rousing five minute standing ovation after the performances. Kah Hoe’s piece was accompanied by art by Steve Rowell, who showed maps of deforestation in Southeast Asia, where clearing land to plant the cash crop palm oil is an issue the EnviroLab Asia Research Clusters are exploring. Kah Hoe also helped turn ideas to action. Char Miller, the W.M. Keck Professor of Environmental Analysis at Pomona College and co-Principal Investigator of EnviroLab Asia, described Kah Hoe’s workshop as “transformative,” and was inspired by workshop to develop a new project for his EA190 class, a senior capstone course that would examine how much palm oil is in the foods offered in the Claremont Colleges’ dining facilities.

Yii Kah Hoe leads the "Workshop for Change."
Yii Kah Hoe leads the “Workshop for Change.”

For more about Kah Hoe’s visit, see:
“EnviroLab Asia sheds light on environmental destruction occurring on a massive scale.”