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Hsu Tsang-houei was born in 1929 in central Taiwan. He grew up in an affluent family with strong artistic traditions. His musical talents were discovered when he was only twelve years old and studying violin in Japan. Five years later, he came back to Taiwan to major in music at a teacher’s college. He then continued his training in France. 

Hsu Tsang-houei himself once said it was the period he spent in France that influenced him the most because it was during that time that he started to contemplate composing music that would truly represent his country. When he returned to Taiwan from Paris in 1959, Hsu Tsang-houei brought with him a storm of modernist music. Hsu Tsang-houei’s modernist musical style and theories of composition were not always welcomed by contemporary musicians in Taiwan. But he insisted on going down that path in order to create a new generation of music and musicians.