Charis Lai

Charis Lai

Key Facts

  • Instrument: Oboe


Charis was born in Hong Kong and is based in London now. She loves music as a universal language for communication between people regardless of their differences in culture or background. She was fascinated by the influence of music since she made her first solo performance of the Gabriel’s Oboe with the school’s orchestra at the age of eleven. She learned under Alice Wong and Song-Lam Yiu in Hong Kong. After graduated in the Junior Academy of the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Art, she was granted a four-years half-scholarship from Guildhall School of Music and Drama to study with Alison Teale, Gordon Hunt, Steven Hudson and Jane Marshall on Cor. She is now on the Orchestral Artistry, Master of Performance course in Guildhall and has been granted a two-year half-scholarship.

Charis is an experienced soloist, chamber and orchestral musician. She worked with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and enjoys freelance performance with various orchestras across London. She is the winner of the Cor Anglais Prize in 2022. She gave performances in Barbican Centre, Milton Court and St. Giles Cripplegate. She actively participates in projects as principal Oboe and Cor Anglais. She has lead the Guildhall Chamber Orchestra and Guildhall Symphony Orchestra which were conducted by Joshua Weilestein and Roberto González-Monjas respectively. She enjoys playing contemporary music as well. She performed in Ubu projects that is led by Simon Wills, pieces that were played include: Kurtäg, Birtwistle, Galina Ustvolskaya Symphony No.3: Jesus Messiah, Save Us!, and Schoenberg Chamber Symphony No.1 op.9. She was one of the participants in the British Isles Music Festival in 2019 and have been selected by the Asian Youth Orchestra Festival in 2020 (it was cancelled due to the pandemic).

Besides oboe playing, she took piano as a minor instrument during her study in Guildhall with Gary Beecher. She actively accompanies strings and winds players. Moreover, she is honoured to be the accompanist of Alison Teale while she was invited to record a piece named Kinnah by Katherine Needleman for the International Double Reed Society.

Another passion of Charis is education. She held workshops with her oboe trio in Norwich; the two oboes and bassoon trio in Peterborough. Schools that we have been to include: the Mousehold Infant School, Bignold Primary School and the Norfolk Centre for Young Musician, while the two oboes and bassoon trio went to Orton Wistow Primary School, St John’s Church School and the Ormiston Brushfield Academy.


Musicians’ Company Award: GSMD Orchestral Artistry Scholar 2022

Page Updated: June 2023

Photo Credit: None