The key to Jason Lai’s work as a musician is making music accessible to all and he combines his role of conductor and presenter with the greatest of ease. His talents have been used both on the podium and for the BBC in the many programmes he has filmed for them.
Early success came when he won the BBC Young Conductors Workshop in 2002 and was awarded the post of Assistant Conductor to the BBC Philharmonic. His successful tenure with the orchestra gave him the opportunity to work closely with principal conductor Gianandrea Noseda, and to conduct the other BBC orchestras and BBC Singers in various concerts and recordings which have been broadcast on Radio 3, he also made his BBC Proms debut with the BBC Philharmonic in 2003.
Jason has been working closely with the Hong Kong Sinfonietta as their Artist Associate developing concerts and programmes. His ability to both conduct and present concerts and involve audiences has been widely praised demonstrating that classical concerts don’t necessarily have to conform to one type of approach. His passion is always seeking new and exciting ways to bring audiences closer to the music.
His most recent post has been as Principal Conductor of the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory Orchestra, Singapore where he has worked tirelessly to train the musicians of the future and has successfully built up the orchestra to great critical acclaim.
Jason was also a prize winner at the Leeds Conducting Competition in 2005 and has assisted and taken part in masterclasses with Pierre Boulez, Colin Davis, Valery Gergiev, Simon Rattle, Daniel Harding and Claus Peter Flor.
He has conducted the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Halle Orchestra, Havant Symphony Orchestra, Leicester Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, New Bristol Sinfonia, Norrkoping Symphony Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra and the Oxford University Orchestra.
Other appearances have been with the Liverpool Mozart Orchestra, Bampton Classical Opera, Ulster Orchestra where he replaced Vernon Handley at short notice, Salomon Orchestra, Haydn Chamber Orchestra, Paragon Ensemble, National Youth Orchestra of Great Britian, Orpheus Sinfonia and Royal Philharmonic, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Malaysian Philharmonic, Evergreen Orchestra, Taipei Symphony Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic and Hong Kong Sinfonietta. This season he makes his debuts with the Singapore National Youth Orchestra and the Singapore Symphony Orchestra.
As a broadcaster Jason has appeared on the panel of BBC Young Musician of the Year competition and was a judge for the BBC2 classical talent show Classical Star. He was one of the conducting mentors in the BBC2 series Maestro and won the competition with his celebrity student comedienne Sue Perkins. Other TV appearances include Clash for CBBC, How a Choir Works BBC4 and The Culture Show for BBC2.
Born in the UK to Chinese parents Jason Lai began his musical studies at the age of eleven and was awarded a scholarship to Chetham’s School of Music, Manchester, to study cello with Raphael Wallfisch and Gillian Thoday.
In 1993 he was awarded a Hadow Scholarship to study music and composition at Oxford University. During his time at Oxford he was appointed Music Director of the Oxford University Philharmonia giving him his first chances to conduct an orchestra in major repertoire.
For more details go to www.jasonlai.co.uk