Kevin Lau (composer)

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Toronto Ontario

Kevin Lau is active as a composer of contemporary and film music.


His first complete composition, Empire of Paradise (1999), was arranged and performed by the Albertan drum corps Allegiance Elite throughout Canada and the United States. Since then, he has had music commissioned and performed by numerous ensembles including the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, the Mississauga Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de la Francophonie, the Cecilia String Quartet, the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra, the Toronto Philharmonia, the Toronto Concert Orchestra, Via Salzburg, Trio sTREga, Ensemble Paramirabo, the Hannaford Street Silver Band, and the Esprit Orchestra. He collaborates regularly with renowned performing artists such as Conrad Chow (violin) and Rachel Mercer (cello), and his music has been read by a variety of eminent ensembles which include Eighth Blackbird, the Ensemble Contemporain de Montréal, and the St. Lawrence String Quartet. His orchestral composition Fountain of Dreams was selected as the winner of both the 2005 Mississauga Young Composers' Competition and the University of Toronto Symphony Orchestra Composer's Competition in 2008/09. In 2010, he was awarded the Karen Kieser Prize in Canadian Music for his composition Starsail.

Kevin is also active in many other areas of composition. In 2006 he wrote the score to the theatre musical Box Office, which was staged seven times at the Tarragon Theatre as part of the 2006 Toronto Fringe Festival. In 2007 he composed the score for a professional video game for Groove Games based on the movie 300. He has written music for over a dozen films, including the feature documentary UFOs: A Secret History, which aired on the History Channel in 2008. During the same year, he co-wrote (with Canadian composer Ronald Royer) the full-length orchestral score to Gooby, a Canadian children's feature film starring Eugene Levy and Robbie Coltrane.

In addition to his compositional ventures, Kevin is an accomplished pianist and arranger. He has performed in a variety of series and venues, including the Toronto Arts and Letters Club, Heliconian Hall, the Liberty Village New Artist Series, and the Mondavi Center in UC Davis, California. His two orchestral arrangements of Christmas Carols ("Jingle Bells" and "It Came Upon the Midnight Clear") are performed frequently by the community orchestras in the Greater Toronto Area. He has worked with numerous pop/folk artists on live orchestral arrangements, including the Celtic group Rant Maggie Rant, the rock band Code Blue, the R&B singer Chuck Jackson, and the Juno-nominated pop artist Suzie McNeil. In 2009 he debuted as a guest conductor for the Mississauga Symphony on his own composition, Sea of Blossoms. Recently, he was commissioned by the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles to arrange the percussion concerto Tongues of Fire (by canadian composer Christos Hatzis) for wind ensemble and percussion. He is an active member of the Mississauga Chamber Music Society (under the direction of Peggy Hills), most recently composing and arranging music for both European classical and traditional Persian instruments in the 50-minute educational production Carpet of Dreams.

In 2007 Kevin co-founded the Sneak Peek Orchestra with conductor Victor Cheng. Composed primarily of young and emerging professionals from Toronto, the orchestra has premiered four of his works, including The Water of Life, which was performed at the George Weston Recital Hall (with violinist Conrad Chow) as part of the international charity Free the Children, and most recently his Cello Concerto Foundation, commissioned by Rachel Mercer.

Kevin lives in Toronto and recently received his doctorate degree in music composition from the University of Toronto under the supervision of Christos Hatzis. He served as composer-in-residence for the Mississauga Symphony Orchestra (2010-12) and was one of two emerging resident composers at the Banff Centre (summer of 2012). He was recently appointed Affiliate Composer of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (2012-14).

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