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Kai-Young Chan focuses on the integration of nuance, relevance, and resonance in music that converses with societies and cultures, and he is particularly drawn to the musicality of Chinese literature expressed through the tonal Cantonese language. His music is performed in various continents by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Albany Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, Hong Kong Sinfonietta, PRISM Quartet, Daedalus Quartet, and Mivos Quartet, among other prominent performers. His selected works are released on Ablaze Records, PARMA Recordings, and Innova Recordings, with scores published by Edition Peters (London).

Kai-Young is part of the first artist delegation of the American Composers Forum to the Havana Festival for Contemporary Music in Cuba, a historic tour documented by the National Public Radio. His music is presented on international stages such as ISCM World Music Days, International Rostrum of Composers, June in Buffalo, soundSCAPE, VIPA Festival, and Internationalen Ferienkurse Darmstadt. He is a winner of the Keuris Composition Prize, the Emissary Quartet Composition Competition, Dolce Suono Ensemble Composition Competition, the Orchestra Seattle and Seattle Chamber Singers Competition, and the Vocal Espoo Choral Composition Competition, among other honors.

After completing his Ph.D. in Music Composition with the Benjamin Franklin Fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied with Jay Reise, James Primosch, and Anna Weesner, he joined the composition faculty at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.