For the Chinese film composer, synchronising sound and image is a form of martial arts.

In your Martial Arts Trilogyconcerts, you’re conducting the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra in music you composed for movies including  Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. How closely do you work with Ang Lee and other directors of these films – how much input do they have in the music?

Normally, I start a few years in advance, before they start filming. I already start to talk to the directors about the movie music sequences so that they melt in organically into the story. It is always a close working relationship, which I am glad of.

How important is traditional Chinese folk music in setting the scene for these films?  

My style is true to my life. I believe my work directly reflects a Zen point of view, a spiritual point of view. But ultimately I don’t believe in combining East and West in my music. I am not interested in the concepts “East” and “West” as it relates to music. My interest is only in my life as it is happening now; my life as it connects to the world is what influences my music – always from living, eating...