Composer Lyle Chan is known for his socially-conscious works combining powerful emotional impact and intellectual rigour. His most personal and confronting work is his 90-minute String Quartet, a memoir of his years as an AIDS activist in the 1990s. It was hailed by American composer John Corigliano as “a serious and deeply felt work of art born out of a seemingly endless plague.”
He first received widespread recognition when Bob Carr, former Foreign Minister of Australia, narrated his Rendezvous With Destiny, a work based on US political history, at NSW Government House.
He was awarded the Orchestral Work of the Year prize at Australia’s Art Music Awards for his song cycle My Dear Benjamin, which Chan wrote upon meeting a 95-year old Wulff Scherchen living near Byron Bay and discovering he was the little-known war-time love interest of composer Benjamin Britten.
In 2018 the Art Gallery of NSW a work from him to be performed during viewings of The Lady and the Unicorn, the famed medieval tapestry making only its third ever trip outside of France.
He is co-founder of Extended Play, the acclaimed new-music festival at Sydney’s City Recital Hall.