Joseph Koo, one of the leading composers of the golden age of Hong Kong cinema, has died in Vancouver, Canada. He was 91.
Local media reported his death on Tuesday, January 3, 2023, but did not provide a cause of death.
Born in Guangzhou, China on February 23, 1931, Ku Ka-fai immigrated from mainland China to Hong Kong in 1948 with his scholarly and musical family.
Koo spent most of her career in the Hong Kong film, TV and pop music industries. And, even after he moved to Canada in the 1990s, he maintained an active relationship with Hong Kong art.
At a young age, Ku learned piano and composed songs for his sister Ku Mei, who was a major recording artist in her own right. He later became a performer and band leader performing at various venues including Hong Kong’s Luk Kwok Hotel.
His first composition for a film was “Dream”, a song performed by his sister in the 1961 Shaw Brothers film “Love Without End”. His film and music success led Hong Kong movie mogul Sir Run Run Shaw to sponsor his formal music training at Berklee College in Boston, USA.
After returning to Hong Kong, Ku worked for the Shaw Brothers company — he won a Golden Horse Award, the most prestigious award in Chinese-language cinema, for the Shaw Brothers’ 1965 musical comedy “The Dancing Millionaires” — and for Shaw’s rival Golden. Harvest for work. There he provided the scores for two of the six Bruce Lee movies, “Fist of Fury” and “Way of the Dragon”.
Versatile and versatile, Cook was appointed music director of TVB in 1973, a position he held until his departure from the region. While there, he composed scores and theme songs for films including the 1980s “Shanghai Bund” and the theme songs for the TV series “The Legend of the Condor Heroes” and “Five Easy Pieces,” which became all-time classics. He also wrote the theme song for the TV series “Below the Lion Rock”, which remains to many people the unofficial anthem of Hong Kong, and for two John Woo films “A Better Tomorrow” (1986 and 1987).
Most recently, Ku provided music for Ray Yeung’s 2006 film “Cut Sleeve Boys” and Jia Zhangke’s 2017 film “Ash is Purest White”.
Ku’s work and career have attracted numerous national and international awards. Ku received an MBE from the British Government in 1982. With Hong Kong under Chinese rule since 1997, Ku received the territory’s Bronze Bauhinia Star award in 1988 and a Gold Bauhinia Star in 2015. He also received the Life Achievement Award in Hong Kong Arts Development. Award in 2010, presented by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council.
“Joseph Ku’s works are evergreen pieces that have been a significant part of Hong Kong people’s lives for years and have enriched the lives of Chinese people around the world. His spirit and the memorable poignant melodies he created will be passed down from one generation to the next. We will remember him with respect,” Hong Kong Secretary for Culture, Sports and Tourism Kevin Yeung said in a statement on Wednesday.