Kao Kai-yi is a Taiwanese composer born in Taichung City in 1984. After completing the music program at Stella Matutina Girls' High School in Taichung, she traveled to Austria to study piano performance with Sugi Shin and composition with Ernst Wally at the Franz Schubert Conservatory, graduating in 2009 with distinction (Artist Diploma for piano and composition).
She then studied composition with Dietmar Schermann and Michael Jarrell at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, graduating with a Master’s degree in composition.
In 2007, her composition was performed as an assigned piece at the Vanduz International Masterclass in Liechtenstein. She also became a finalist in the 2009 International Music Prize for Excellence in Composition in Greece, in which she also won the Special Award for her marimba solo piece.
In 2011, her work on "Identität-Alterität-Musik" was published in "Ertäge de Lehre IV," a joint collaboration among the music theory students and professors of the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna.
She then captured Second Prize in the 14th Carl von Ossietzsky Composition Competition Oldenburg in 2014 and performed at the "re:construction 2014 Japan | Austria" concert. She was also invited to join the 15th Auftakt concert organized by Austrian national public service broadcaster Österreichischer Rundfunk.
In 2016, she came second place in the Hearing Orpheus Today Composition Competition in Malta. She was then selected to join a composition commission program titled Gender-Projekt 2016 held by the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna.
Kao's compositions encompass both classical and contemporary music, gracefully incorporating elements from a wide range of instrumental solos, chamber music arrangements, vocal pieces, symphonies, and orchestral music.
She has previously collaborated with Austrian percussionist Berndt Thurner and noted European chamber music ensembles Lux and Platypus. Her compositions have been performed in Austria, Germany, Greece, Japan, Liechtenstein, Malta, Taiwan, and the UK.
She is currently based in Vienna, working as an instructor of piano, composition, and music theory at the Franz Schubert Conservatory. She will be performing at the 2017 Pacific Rim Call for Scores in Vancouver.