Kai-Young Chan assimilates elements from various Asian musical traditions as well as classical Chinese literature, folklores and language into his concert works and film scores, through classical idioms as well as electronics media and various forces of folk instruments.
His music is performed across the continents by Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Curtis Symphony Orchestra, Albany Symphony, PRISM Quartet, Dolce Suono Ensemble in the United States; ensemble chromoson, International Ensemble Modern Academy, Brno Philharmonic Orchestra in Europe; Orquesta de Cámara de Bellas Artes in Mexico, and Hong Kong New Ensemble, among other prominent performers. His selected works are released on Ablaze Records and PARMA Recordings, with scores published by Editions Peters (London) and Central Conservatory of Music Press(Beijing).
Receiving its European premiere in the Darmstadt International Summer Course 2014, his work Shimmers the Shivery Moon was selected for the 2014 UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers in Finland, and was subsequently broadcast in Australia, Hong Kong, and other countries. Hard it is to Meet and Part, a vocal piece for mezzo-soprano and piano, was premiered by Duo Kozato - D'Aronzo in the Risuonanze New Music Festival 2014 in Trieste, Italy. His orchestral work vers le jardin japonais was chosen by David Stock as one of four works to be read by the Pittsburgh Symphony at the orchestra’s 10th Annual Reading Session. Other festivals that featured his music include Musicarama 2014 and 2013 Chinese Composers Festival in Hong Kong, ISCM World Music Days (2012 in Belgium and 2015 in Slovenia), as well as the XXXVII Manuel Enriquez International Forum for New Music in Mexico.
The champion winner in New Generation 2012, Chan has also won the Dolce Suono Ensemble composition competition, PARMA Student Composer Competition, David Gwilt Composition Prize, Audience Choice Award of the Young Musicians Performance Platform, and CASH Music Scholarships, among other honors. He won the Speech Choir Young Composer Award for his speech choral work East-Rail says..., which is made a set piece in the Speech Choir Showcase in Hong Kong.
Chan earned his PhD in Music Composition from the University of Pennsylvania as a student of Jay Reise, James Primosch, and Anna Weesner. While at Penn, he taught undergraduate music theory and musicianship courses in addition to private instruction of piano and erhu. He currently serves on the faculty of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, where he earned his Master of Music and Bachelor of Arts with first class honours.