Conductor’s final encore

When a conductor dies, his daughter turns to Reddit for support.


Fernando Alfonso III


Published Aug 22, 2011   Updated Dec 10, 2015, 2:15 pm CST

Shih Jei-Young had never conducted a movie-themed show before and wanted to make sure everything was perfect.

“He was very excited about it because of how much he wanted to promote Taiwanese movie scores,” wrote Karen, his daughter, in an e-mail interview with the Daily Dot.

After days preparing for the event,  “The Golden Ages of Mandarin Chinese Movies: Movie Film Orchestra Show” the show on Thursday seemed to go off without a hitch.

It wrapped and Jei-Young took his final bow. He walked back stage and greeted his daughter-in-law.

The crowd was roaring for an encore. Then Jei-Young collapsed.

His daughter-in-law performed CPR and called for an ambulance. At the hospital the doctors said it was a heart attack, wrote Karen in a Reddit post Monday. Karen, a seasoned redditor, did what others have done before her: she turned to her community on Reddit.

“He had heart problems in the past and due to him working so hard, he forgot to sleep, take meds, visit the doctor. … My world collapsed when I saw him,” wrote Karen on Reddit, who travelled 20 hours from New York to Taipei to see him. “He (was) bloated and basically brain dead.”

So today, around noon, Karen and her family decided to take her father off life support.

Jei-Young was 53-years-old.

“He’s the only one in the family I would talk to everyday,” Karen wrote on Reddit. “Till now, I still cannot face the truth that he is gone.”

Karen’s post about her father reached the top of Reddit’s front page where it collected more than 1,000 comments, mostly from people expressing their sympathies

“Just by this, I sincerely wish I could have seen him in concert,” wrote lolgrim, in response to a YouTube video Karen posted of one of her father’s performances. “Your dad looks like a dedicated artist and a true gentleman. I am sorry for your loss, and for the world’s loss, but I hope he’s at peace, wherever he is now.”

“So sad but he died doing what he loved and one of his last memories were the crowd appraising him for his hard work,” wrote Addbba.

Jei-Young won a Golden Horse Award in 1986 for best movie score, according to Karen and an article from Taiwan News. The awards are Taiwan’s equivalent of the Oscars, Karen said in the interview. But more importantly, Jei-Young was a video game lover and Reddit lurker who enjoyed seeing photos of their dog Charlie posted on the subreddit /r/shiba, where people post pictures of their Shiba Inu dogs, Karen wrote on Reddit.

“He would ask me for the link and watch the karmas and comments,” Karen wrote. “He was a troll dad and a soul mate.”

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*First Published: Aug 22, 2011, 5:31 pm CDT