© 2017 James (Ka Wai) Chan

Biography

James Chan (1997- ) is a Hong Kong-born composer currently based in Manchester.

From 2011-2016 he studied music at Lancing College with Ian Morgan-Williams and Neil Cox, and at the age of 17 he started composing as part of the A Level course and discovered his passion for composition. Since then he has been composing actively.

He is now studying on the prestigious ‘joint-course’ at the Royal Northern College of Music (under Gary Carpenter) and the University of Manchester where he has enjoyed working with players for performances of his works, and has been involved in many projects; most recently he has composed a concerto for cello and brass band for a concert at the university.

James’s music often inhabits a delicate and fragile sound world, with colours that draw the ear in. Above all he tries to achieve a balance between complexity in the music and practicality in execution. The harmonic and timbral palette is unique and sensual, whilst always with a considered approachability and a predilection for simple but powerful musical ideas. Drawing on a wide range of cultural references, recently he has been much inspired by other art forms, with a particular penchant for the writings of Virginia Woolf.

In 2016 James was announced as the winner in the senior category of the BBC Inspire Young Composers’ Competition, consequently Litany for string orchestra was premiered by the Aurora Orchestra under Nicholas Collon. He also had the privilege to work with the NYCGB Fellowship Octet (2016-17) and Esther Jones on his piece speaking. Both of these piece were broadcasted on BBC Radio 3. Mostly recently, he has been chosen to be part of the London Symphony Orchestra Panufnik Composers Scheme 2019.