Jason Lai

Cellist, Pianist, Composer, Conductor and Broadcaster

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, Manchester, to study cello with Raphael Wallfisch and Gillian Thoday.

In 1993 he was awarded a Hadow Scholarship to read music and composition at Oxford University. During his time at Oxford he was invited by the Allegri Quartet to join them for several performances in the University and on tour in the UK, he was also appointed Music Director of the Oxford University Philharmonia which gave him his first chances to conduct major repertoire.

He completed his studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London, studying composition with Robert Saxton and was appointed Fellow in Conducting.


A cellist, pianist and composer by training Jason Lai first came to notice as one the leading lights in a new generation of young conductors after the BBC Philharmonic voted him the winner of the BBC Young Conductors Workshop.

His successful tenure as Assistant Conductor to the BBC Philharmonic from 2002-2005 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 made his BBC Proms debut with the BBC Philharmonic in 2003.

Jason was 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 and Simon Rattle.

He has conducted numerous orchestras including the Royal Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra and the Ulster Orchestra.

Other engagements abroad include Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen in a concert at the Bremen Jazz Festival, Malaysian Philharmonic, Evergreen Orchestra, Taipei Symphony Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic and Hong Kong Sinfonietta.

Jason is the newly appointed Artist Associate with the Hong Kong Sinfonettia and Music Director of the Leicester Symphony Orchestra. Future engagements include concerts with Corinthian Chamber Orchestra, ECO and return visits to the New Bristol Sinfonia, Ulster Orchestra and Taipei Symphony Orchestra.


As a broadcaster Jason has appeared on the panel of BBC Young Musician of the Year competition and was a judge in the recent BBC2 classical talent show Classical Star.

He was one of the conducting mentors in the BBC2 series Maestro which aired in August 2008 and won the competition with his celebrity student comedienne Sue Perkins and is currently filming a new music series for CBBC called Clash which will air in the summer 2009.

Jason will also appear on the Culture Show interviewing Zaha Hadid on her latest concert hall creation for the Manchester International Festival.


As a composer he was a finalist in the BBC Young Composers Award (1994) where his piece Synopsis was performed by London Sinfonietta, other pieces premieres have been given by Philharmonia Ensemble and the BBC Singers.

Jason has an M.Mus in composition from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London.

He now writes music for film and TV.

Note : If you'd like to contact Jason Lai, please follow the instructions at the bottom of the Enquiries page.

Updated on 25 August, 2009


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