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Kevin Lau

Kevin Lau
Kevin Lau photo
  • Faculty, The Glenn Gould School


Theory & History

Described as a "self-assured voice" (Barczablog) with a "masterful control over his idiom" (Classical Music Sentinel), Kevin Lau has established himself as one of Canada’s leading young composers. Awarded the 2017 Victor Martyn Lynn-Staunton Award by the Canada Council for Outstanding Achievement, Kevin’s music has been commissioned and performed by ensembles across North America, including the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, Niagara Symphony Orchestra, Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, the Hannaford Street Silver Band, Ensemble Made in Canada, the Oregon Mozart Players, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, and the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra.


In 2016 he composed the score for the National Ballet of Canada’s original full-length ballet Le Petit Prince, featuring choreography by NBOC Principal Dancer and Choreographic Associate Guillaume Côté. His second ballet score, Dark Angels, was commissioned by the National Arts Centre Orchestra for its Encount3rs project in 2017, and was described as “riveting” (Ottawa Citizen) and “extraordinarily accomplished” (Artsfile). His most recent work, an opera (Bound) commissioned by Against the Grain Theatre, was hailed by the Globe and Mail as “a brilliant creation.” 


Kevin’s discography includes the JUNO-nominated “Spin Cycle” (Centrediscs), featuring the Afiara String Quartet and DJ Skratch Bastid; “Encount3rs” (Analekta) featuring the NACO; “Solo Seven” (ATMA Classique) featuring violinist Marc Djokic; “The Sounds of Our Time” (Naxos) featuring cellist Rachel Mercer, and “Premieres” (Cambria Records) featuring violinist Conrad Chow.  

In addition to composing concert music, Kevin is also active as a film composer, arranger, and pianist. He has written the scores to over a dozen films, including Charles Officer’s feature documentary Invisible Essence: The Little Prince (2018), and has created arrangements for artists such as Sarah Slean, Suzie McNeil, Christos Hatzis, and groups such as the Art of Time Ensemble. He has performed many of his own works and collaborates frequently with artists such as Scott St. John (violin), Lynn Kuo (violin), and Victor Cheng (piano). 

Born in Hong Kong, Kevin moved to Toronto at the age of 7. In 2012 he received his doctorate in music composition from the University of Toronto under the supervision of Christos Hatzis, and has guest-lectured at UofT for the past four years. He served as Composer in Residence for the Mississauga Symphony Orchestra (2010-12), the Banff Centre (2012), and was artistic director of the Sneak Peek Orchestra (with conductor and co-founder Victor Cheng) until 2014. He served as the RBC Affiliate Composer for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra from 2012-15, and was composer in residence of the Niagara Symphony Orchestra from 2018-19.