Skip to content

Hong Kong music legend Joseph Koo passes away in Richmond

"He earned the respect of his contemporaries and the people of Hong Kong at large," says Koo's son.
Joseph Koo passed away on Jan. 3, 2023 in Richmond.

A legend in the Hong Kong music industry has passed away at the age of 92.

Joseph Kar Fai Koo was a renowned composer, producer and conductor and respected by many in the entertainment industry.

Koo was surrounded by family members as he passed away due to natural causes on Jan. 3. According to Chinese media, he died in Richmond Hospital.

“Our father was always a man of few words, known for his shyness and understated elegance in an industry that often celebrates the opposite, yet he earned the respect of his contemporaries and the people of Hong Kong at large,” said Ken Koo, Joseph’s son, in a letter to the media.

Ken described his father’s music as “deeply ingrained into the social fabric of Hong Kong’s culture” during the “Golden Era” of the Hong Kong music industry in the 1970s and 1980s.

“We will miss him dearly and ask for privacy during this difficult time.”

The 92-year-old music legend was born on Jan. 9, 1931, and developed his skills as a pianist in the 1950s and 1960s.

Joseph won a scholarship from the Berklee College of Music in Boston and after graduating he officially launched his career in the Hong Kong music industry through a song-writing contest hosted by Shaw Brothers Studio.

During his career, Joseph proceeded to produce highly acclaimed original film songs for Shaw Brother Studios, television theme songs for TVB, a Hong Kong broadcasting company and was often invited to judge singing and talent contests.

Joseph received many awards and honorable doctorate degrees, including one from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He was also a Member of the Order of the British Empire and received a Gold Bauhinia Star Award from the Hong Kong Government.

Koo immigrated to Canada in the 1990s and in the same year, he composed the original theme songs for various Asian television and radio companies as well as Chinese pageant contests.

Joseph is survived by his wife, son, daughter-in-law, daughter, son-in-law, sister and brother.