Kitty Xiao


Kitty Xiao is an Australian composer, pianist, and collaborative artist based in New York. She is currently completing a Master of Music (Composition) at the Eastman School of Music as a graduate award recipient, studying composition with Robert Morris and David Liptak, and piano with Tony Caramia. She is the current recipient of the 2019 Howard Hanson Large Ensemble Prize.

Kitty is founder, composer and pianist of Nimbus Trio and released her first album Novum in 2016 as a represented artist of Move Records label. In 2017 Kitty formed the Six Piano Collective and is Artistic Director of the Six Piano Project. The same year she launched a new concert series NoiseSense.

Kitty’s works have been performed in Australia, Europe and the United States. Recent performances include the Sarasota Orchestra and Switch~ Ensemble. Past commissions include Arts Centre Melbourne’s 5x5x5 (AU), Ascension Arts Festival (US), Orlando Contemporary Chamber Orchestra (US), Plexus (AU), Panoramic Voices (US), Australian Art Orchestra’s CMI (AU), Elysium Dance (UK), Brighton Fashion Week (UK), Six Piano Project (AU), Nimbus Trio (AU), Tilde New Music Festival (AU), Gamelan DanAnda (AU), the Augmented Trumpet (AU), Clan Analogue (AU) ; her work being featured on their recent album Coordinates. She was nominated for Best Original Score by 2019 Olympus Film Festival in Los Angeles for her work on short film Solus. Her works have been part of the Image/Sound Festival (US), Adelaide Fringe (AU), Melbourne Festival (AU), Mapping Melbourne Festival (AU), performed at Kilbourn Hall (US), Holley Hall (US), The Museum of Human Achievement (US), The Blanton Museum of Art (US), Deakin Edge (AU), Melbourne Recital Centre (AU), Elder Hall University of Adelaide (AU), Royal Naval College (UK), and broadcasted on 3MBS, ABC Classic FM, PBS (AU); KUTX 98.9 (U.S) and WSLR-LP 96.5 (US).

Kitty is resident composer of 2019 American Composer’s Orchestra Earshot program (US), 2019 Yarn/Wire Institute (US). Past residencies include 2017 Tilde New Music Academy (AU), 2016 Keep Composer’s Weird in Austin (US), and 2016 Australian Art Orchestra CMI (AU). Kitty holds a Master of Music (Performance) from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London as a full recipient of the Alfred Kitchin Scholarship, Master of Teaching (Music Education) from The University of Melbourne, Bachelor of Music from The University of Melbourne and was a scholarship recipient at Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School.

Composer website:

Featured Works

The Tenderness of Rain, for five old pianos.

‘The Tenderness of Rain’ is dedicated to the Piano Graveyard in Western Australia. It’s the sound of solid, air, water; and the transience of rain. It’s an array of colours, a celebration and rebirth. And it’s dedicated to all the old pianos that have come and gone from my life.

Featured in Landscape Waves, February 2018

Novum, for alto flute, bass flute, violin and piano.

Inspired by Australian photographer Jane Brown’s photograph Bushfire Landscape II, Lake Mountain, Victoria, the photo explores concepts of gothic Australia in rural landscapes that augment melancholic and haunting themes. The piece is an exploration of the ‘new world’. A land embedded with trauma through our attempts to domesticate and contain its forces. A land stricken with heat, bushfires, floods, haunted by the ghosts of our indigenous, yet a land full of promise, beauty and potential.

Featured in Circumnavigating Waves (July 2019).