Young yangqin recitalist Bryan LAI is currently a member of the World Cimbalom Association and the Chinese Yangqin Association. Born in Hong Kong, he had received both eastern and western education and had studied the art of yangqin and the traditional Chinese music scale of Gongche under veteran artist LUO Xingnan. He was then coached by Ms. CHEUNG Yu Chu and became the winners of numerous local musical awards including the champions in Yangqin Instrumental Solo for junior division (1993), senior division (1995) and advance division (1996) at the Hong Kong Schools Music Festival, and the Champion at the Hugo Chinese Instrumental Solos Awards (1998). In 1993, he was admitted to the Diocesan Boy’s School in Hong Kong and had been the concertmaster for the school’s Chinese orchestra and was awarded various scholarships including the ‘Exxon Energy Limited’ Scholarship (1994), the ‘Hausammann’ Scholarship (1995), and the ‘Mikimoto’ Scholarship (1996). In 1997, he was invited by the Urban Council to perform with Yangqin Maestros from Greater China including XIANG Zuhua and TANG Kaixuan in yangqin concerts for the Chinese Instrumental Collection Concert Series. In the following year, he was again invited by the Provisional Regional Council to give his debut solo concert at the Young Musicians of Hong Kong Concert Series.
Bryan was admitted to the Beijing Central Conservatory of Music in 2001, where he had received 7 years of rigorous and systematic undergraduate and postgraduate musical training under Professor LIU Yuening and Professor GUI Xili. He specialized in yangqin performance and his outstanding musicianship has won him the ‘Hong Kong, Macau and Overseas Chinese Students’ Scholarship. Among his busy study schedule, he had taken part in various groundbreaking concerts including Impressions of Eastern Europe - Works from Eastern Europe (Beijing, 2004), Heritage – Yangqin Works from Guangdong (Beijing, 2005) and had given solo performances in Music of China - Virtuosi and Classics Concert Series (Hangzhou, China, 2006),Young Musicians of Asia Concert Series (Hong Kong, 2006), Cracow International Music Festival (Poland, 2006), and The Ninth Hackbrett (Yangqin) World Congress (Germany, 2007). In 2006, he gave a dedicated concert of yangqin at the residence of the late Polish piano master and former Prime Minister I. J. Paderewski, and represented CCTV to give yangqin recitals at the Russian NTV Plus 10th anniversary celebrations, where millions of audience members experienced the first time the exotic elegance of yangqin music. In 2007, he was also the musician for the dedicated closing concert at the Mexican International Salterio (Yangqin) Festival, where the magnificent music of yangqin had brought a real climax to the audience. During 2007-08, he also demonstrated his creative and academic flairs with the publication of his essay ‘The Dulcimer in America – Past and Present’, his co-authored collection Chinese and Western Yangqin Classics and his DVD recording Yangqin Music in Guangdong – Dedicated Concerts. In May 2008, he gave his highly successful Masters graduation concert with the China Broadcasting Chinese Orchestra at the Beijing Concert Hall and became the first Hong Kong musician to be awarded a Masters degree in yangqin performance.
With his extensive stage performance experience and his open-minded reflection on various musical approaches, Bryan’s style is steady yet relaxed and free. He is attentive to details and able to move the audience profoundly by his vivid display of musicianship and his powerful reveal of the essence of musical works. His brilliant performance and great achievements in traditional Chinese music has indeed earned him recognition worldwide. He is truly one of the most promising musicians of the new generation. His name has been included in the eminent volumes Art in China and 100 Most Influential Artists in China.