Lam, Doming

Year of Election: 2007

Doming Lam, composer, teacher and contemporary music promoter has made many significant contributions to the development of contemporary in Hong Kong, China and many parts of Asia through years of hard work and dedication. 

Born in Macau in 1926, Doming Lam has studied music at the University of Toronto, and later under Mikros Rozsa at the University of Southern California where he and his student team obtained many awards in film music composition under the Maestro’s guidance.

Upon returning to Hong Kong in the 1960s, he actively took part in the subsequent establishment of a composers’ union (Hong Kong ACL Branch in 1971 becoming the Hong Kong Composers’ Guild in 1983) and a performing rights society (CASH in 1977) both of which later became the driving forces in the promotion of contemporary music in Hong Kong and the region. Through his dedication, he managed to help found the Asian Composers’ League in the early 1970s, drawing together composer organizations from more than 10 countries in Asia-Pacific regions in annual festivals and conferences, which called for active protection of composers’ rights and for greater emphasis of Asian cultural roots in contemporary music of the region. He served for many years the Founding Director of CASH and as Secretary General of the ACL. 

His drive for international exchange and understanding has been exemplary and has helped put Hong Kong on the map of the international contemporary music scene through participation in many important events and organizations such as the ISCM, ACL, UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers, Gaudeamus, Darmstadt, etc. Doming initiated contacts with the ISCM in the 1980s and successfully organized the first ISCM World Music Days Festival in Asia in 1988 in Hong Kong. He served as Artistic Director of the Festival during which composers from mainland China were put in active contact with the rest of the world for the first time.

As a composer, Doming has also made important breakthroughs. From the 1960s onwards, his artistic objective has been to create a kind of new Chinese music by applying contemporary techniques to traditional roots. He pioneered in establishing a new genre of contemporary orchestral music for Chinese Orchestra with his works Insect World and Autumn Execution which has provided much valuable inspiration to whole generations of younger composers and musicians. He has received numerous commissions and his music has been performed over 50 cities in the world. 

Doming Lam is also a broadcaster and television producer, producing many award-winning programmes on music and the arts; an academic, having served as Composer-in-Residence and Senior Lecturer at the University of Hong Kong; a conductor, being the Founding Music Director of the Cultural Institute of Macau Sinfonietta and Music Director of the Hong Kong Children’s Choir for many years. An all-rounder and a dedicated musician, his life-long work has been catalogued in the 2001 edition of the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.

Doming LAM – List of Important Biographical Events

1926: Born in Macau

1954-1958 Studied at the University of Toronto and the Royal Conservatory of Music, graduated with Composition Diploma

1960-1963 Studied film music and production at University of Southern California with Mikros Rozsa

1965: Returned to Hong Kong upon graduation; Hong Kong Philharmonic Society sponsored a Concert featuring Lam's music

1965-1971 Worked as TV producer/director with Rediffusion TV, producing culture and variety programmes

1973: ACL Inaugural Meeting committee member; elected ACL-Hong Kong Section Chairman (1973-1983); Secretary General of ACL (1980-1990)

1976: Awarded the first prize of orchestral composition, Urban Council Award

1977: One of the Founding Directors of CASH (Composers & Authors Society of Hong Kong) and served in the Board for the longest term (1977-1994)

1979-1993 Honorary Advisor of the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra; also served as regular guest conductor

1980: Took part in the International Darmstadt New Music Summer Course

1981-1985 Produced 50 episodes of Music Makers TV programmes for RTHK

1983: Reorganized ACL-Hong Kong Section by founding HKCG; elected as Honorary President

1983-1989 Music Director of the Cultural Institute of Macau; reformed the chamber group a Sinfonietta Orchestra of 50 members

1986-1994 Composer-in-Residence and senior lecturer in music at HKU, 1988 Medal for the Distinction in Cultural Contribution presented by the Governor of Macau

1988: Initiated a historical event - the 12th ACL Conference/Festival with ISCM; as the Chairman of the International Jury 

1988: Awarded the first 'Composer of the Year' by the Hong Kong Artists' Guild

1991: Best Teacher Award, University of Hong Kong

1993: "Autumn Execution" received the 20th Century Masterpiece Award presented in Beijing

1994: Retired to Toronto, Canada

1995: "Three Night Songs of Li-Po" was selected and performed in the President's house in Taiwan 

1999: One of Five Asian Composition Masters, named by the music circle in Tokyo in the 1999 Culture Day

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