Hope Talk – Forgotten Legends Bunya Koh 2

Hope Talk – Forgotten Legends Bunya Koh 1

Hope Talk – Forgotten Legends: Bunya Koh

Mei-Lien Liu

The heartbreaking tale of Bunya Koh is the story of a young musician and composer, a rising star in the midst of the Second Sino-Japanese War, forgotten in the annals of time and a testament to what might have been for an artist of that era.

Born in 1910 to Chinese parents in a Japanese-colonized Taiwan, Bunya Koh represented Japan at the art competition of the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Koh’s grand orchestration “Formosan Dance” was awarded second place, and received a hero’s welcome in Asia and appointed professor of musical arts at the Teacher’s College in Beijing. A victim of the Cultural Revolution in 1966, many of Koh’s compositions disappeared along with his status, and he passed away as a custodian of the very halls in which he once taught.

Biographer and historian Mei Lian Liu has chronicled Koh’s life, and will present his story alongside voice recordings of the 1936 Olympic Award Ceremony and her efforts to restore Koh’s recognition for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.