Lyle Chan


Lyle Chan’s compositions are known for their combination of intellectual rigor and powerful emotional impact, even for audiences unaccustomed to classical music. He is best known for three works: his most notorious composition is “Wind Farm Music”, dedicated to Australia’s unpopular then-Prime Minister Tony Abbott in protest against the government’s anti-renewable energy stance. The work that first brought him widespread recognition was Rendezvous With Destiny for narrator and musicians – based on US political history – and performed by Bob Carr, a former Foreign Minister of Australia. 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.”

Lyle Chan holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he studied under Conrad Pope, J.Peter Burkholder and the Pro Arte String Quartet. He spent over a decade at ABC Classics, where as Artists, Repertoire and Marketing Manager he spearheaded the production of over 200 recordings, including every winner of the Best Classical category of the ARIA Awards between 1998 and 2008. Amongst his consultancy’s current clients are the music publishers Schirmer, Chester and Novello. In addition to being a composer, he is also a fully-qualified neurolinguistic coach and hypnotist (Master Practitioner and Trainer) and passionately pursues personal growth for himself and others. His ‘adventures’ in personal growth frequently form the basis for his musical compositions.

Composer website:


In September the Light Changes, for Acacia Quartet

String Quartet: An AIDS Activist’s Memoir in Music was sketched in the crisis years 1991-1996 by one of Australia’s leading AIDS activists at the time, composer Lyle Chan, but only completed some 20 years later. “During those years, I’d given up music to be an activist,” says Lyle. “But a composer is always a composer. I still sketched a lot of music. These sketches were my diaries, a way of writing down feelings. I think of music as the sound that feelings make.” This is the opening section of a 90-min work.

This recording can be purchased via

Featured in Social Activism Waves playlist, March 2017