Jason Lai


At a glance

Jason Lai


Highest praise ultimately goes to conductor Lai...whose no-nonsense leadership and indefatigable energy oversaw this empowering concert.


Jason Lai is a leading light in a new generation of Asian conductors and has recently been appointed Associate Conductor for both the Hong Kong Sinfonietta and the Singapore Symphony Orchestra.

Biography —

Jason Lai is a leading light in a new generation of Asian conductors. He is the Principal Conductor of the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory Orchestra and also the Associate Conductor of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra. This season he will make his debut with the New Japan Philharmonic, Bangkok Symphony Orchestra and Malta Philharmonic. He has also conducted the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Halle Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Norrkoping Symphony Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Malaysian Philharmonic, Hong Kong
Philharmonic and Hong Kong Sinfonietta.

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. Making his BBC Proms debut with the orchestra in 2003, Jason was also invited to conduct the BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales and the BBC Concert Orchestra. In 2009-2011 he was appointed Artist Associate to the Hong Kong Sinfonietta and later became their Associate Conductor in 2009-2011.

Jason was a prize winner at the Leeds Conducting Competition and has assisted or taken part in masterclasses with Pierre Boulez, Colin Davis, Valery Gergiev, Simon Rattle, Daniel Harding, Claus Peter Flor, Eiji Oue and Robert Spano. There have also been appearances with the Ulster Orchestra, Liverpool Mozart Orchestra, Bampton Classical Opera, Salomon Orchestra, Haydn Chamber Orchestra, Havant Symphony Orchestra, Paragon Ensemble, National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, Singapore National Youth Orchestra, Orpheus Sinfonia, Evergreen Orchestra and Taipei Symphony Orchestra. Opera credits include Manon with English Touring Opera; Tsarina’s Shoes, Albert Herring, Beggar’s Opera and Penelope with Guildhall Opera; Don Giovanni and L’infedeltà delusa with Bampton Opera, and Serse with British Youth Opera.

In addition to conducting, Jason is equally at home in front of the camera as a broadcaster, and was the presenter and conductor for Project Symphony, an eight part series for Okto channel in Singapore where he was filmed setting up a community orchestra. For the BBC he has appeared on the panel of the 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 for BBC4 and The Culture Show for BBC2.

Born in the UK, Jason Lai began his musical studies at the age of eleven and was awarded a scholarship to Chetham’s School of Music to study cello with Raphael Wallfisch and Gillian Thoday. A Hadow Scholarship enabled him to study cello and composition at Oxford University where he also toured extensively with the Allegri Quartet. After becoming a finalist in the BBC Young Composers Award, his piece Synopsis was performed by London Sinfonietta. He completed his studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where he was awarded the Fellowship in Conducting.

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Credit Yvonne ChanDownload - 17.1 KB
Credit Sam HarmerDownload - 69.3 KB
Credit Hong Kong SinfoniettaDownload - 88.6 KB
Credit Anna LimDownload - 1.5 MB

Reviews —

Highest praise ultimately goes to conductor Lai...whose no-nonsense leadership and indefatigable energy oversaw this empowering concert, a new high point in the orchestra’s already impressive list of achievements.


Lai... had picked a programme of mainly French music and it was an inspired choice, emphasising the orchestra’s delicacy, finesse and inner cohesion...Lai drew from his players those traits in a delightful performance, which was marked by some exquisite string playing complemented by beautifully balanced woodwind.


... an astute musician, an alert conductor, a fine communicator and one of those few people with a real gift of making music accessible to all.


Brilliant young conductor Jason Lai drew clarity, confident delivery, and compelling performances from the Paragon players throughout an enthralling evening.


Selected Discography —

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  • Costa Peristianis