Caroline Ho, who grew up in Santa Monica and graduated from Samohi, has been selected to participate in the Television Academy Foundation’s prestigious Summer Fellows Program. The Foundation is the charitable arm of the Television Academy and its summer internship program typically places 50 students in paid internships at top Hollywood studios and production companies, but this year’s program has shifted to an online fellowship due to the pandemic.
Ho is participating in the program as an aspiring film and TV composer, leveraging the music skills she developed while growing up in Santa Monica.
“While the internship is not exactly the way it was supposed to be this year due to COVID-19, I am grateful to be a 2020 Fellow,” said Ho. “I have never met an Asian-American female film/tv composer and I’m encouraged by the fact that people are more and more interested in my perspective and voice as a composer.”
Ho is an accomplished pianist and cellist who has received scholarships and awards from the Young Musicians Foundation, the National YoungArts Foundation and soloed with many orchestras. She attended Franklin Elementary School, Lincoln Middle School, and Santa Monica High School.
“Growing up, I spent all my time at either local pianist Anders Martinson’s studio or the SOL-LA Music Academy, so I had a very Santa Monica music education, which I am very grateful for.”
Ho is a rising junior at Yale University where she is pursuing a degree in Computing and the Arts, an interdepartmental major that allows her to develop unique technology skills that will advance her compositional career goals.
“As a composer and as an aspiring film composer, I use a lot of music technology every single day,” said Ho. “I’m always thinking about ways I can manipulate sounds or change characteristics of sounds that would create a certain texture or evoke a certain mood. There are ways you can do that if you know how to write your own code, write your own samples, or write your own sound filters.”
Through the Summer Fellows Program, Ho is participating in one-on-one meetings with professionals in her field of study, panels with leaders in the TV industry, and seminars on brand building and the job market. She is especially looking forward to meeting with successful film composers and learning about their unique career journeys as there is no standard pathway to becoming a film composer.
Ho first got into film composition through a friend that she met at Samohi. Ho composed the score for a series of her friend’s short films and discovered her passion for pairing visuals and music.
“When I’m writing music I like to think about melody and texture and lyricism,” said Ho. “I think textural music is essential to film and that’s how I fell in love with it.”
At Yale she studies piano with Professor Wei-Yi Yang and composition with Konrad Kacmarek, Kathryn Alexander, and Adam Schoenberg. She recently won a grant from Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale in partnership with the Asian American Cultural Center to write songs and have a concert to promote Asian Americans in the arts. According to Ho, there is a lack of Asian American representation in the music industry and in the arts in general. This is a gap she is excited to step into as she continues her musical and compositional pursuits.