Music and Emptiness
: Portfolio of Original Musical Compositions and Accompanying Written Commentary

  • Carmen Ho

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)


This portfolio of nine compositions traces the composer’s compositional development from an emphasis on the timbral qualities of individual instruments (Shimmer for solo cello, Psithurism for solo flute and Three Watches of the Night for bass clarinet) through to the handling of large sound masses of choral and orchestral forces (An Unbroken Vow and Saṃsāra respectively). Underpinning almost all the compositions is an interest in Buddhist philosophy, specifically the concept of ‘emptiness’.

The portfolio is accompanied by a Commentary which describes the principle technical features of the works and places them in the context of both the composer’s musical development and in a wider field of related contemporary musical practice.
Date of Award25 Sep 2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Bristol
SupervisorJohn Pickard (Supervisor)

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