Born in Hong Kong, May Kay Yau entered the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts at the age of 17. There she was the winner of the Concerto Trial and had her first orchestral piece presented in the concert of the 5th Anniversary of the Establishment of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Following that she was awarded a scholarship to pursue a Masters Degree at the Royal Academy of Music in London. In 2011, she completed her PhD study at the University of Bristol, funded by the ORS and the University Research Studentship. Her teachers include Wing-fai Law, Clarence Mak, Paul Patterson, Geoffrey Poole and John Pickard.

May Kay’s compositions have been performed in various music festivals (e.g. the ACL Contemporary Music Festival, Sounds New Festival, Spitalfield Festival etc) in China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Israel, Portugal, Greece and UK. She is the composer-in residence with the Wuji Ensemble and has also collaborated with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, the BBC Singers, National Theatre, RAM Harp Ensemble, Shonorities, the Gemini Ensemble and Concerto da Camera.

Her second orchestral piece ‘Alive’ was awarded a Special Prize by the Fondation Francis et Mica Salabert in the “George Enescu International Competition – Edition 2009” in Romania and her string trio ‘Vernarrtheit’ won the University of Aberdeen Music Prize in 2009.