Sanders Lau is a multifaceted choral musician and a much sought-after conductor. He is currently Resident Conductor of Die Konzertisten (DK), one of Hong Kong’s foremost chamber choirs. Under his preparation, DK has performed with internationally distinguished conductors to great critical acclaim, including Jonathan Cohen (Bach’s Mass in B minor; Handel’s Messiah, Israel in Egypt; Vivaldi’s Gloria), John Butt (Bach’s St John Passion), Stephen Layton (Mozart’s Requiem), Leif Segerstam, and Chen Yun-Hung. He frequently conducts DK in performances ranging from the standard repertoire, such as Palestrina, Haydn, Duruflé, to premieres of new works, most recently Yin Ng’s Choral Suite ‘This Victoria Has No Secrets’.
With a specialised interest in ‘historically informed performances’, Sanders works often with DK and its orchestra on the music of the Baroque era. In 2016-2018, they performed a series of Bach’s cantatas according to the liturgical calendar. In 2018, he put together a programme of various Handel’s oratorio choruses that can be conceived as a complete set of music that conveys a unified message, much like a cantata, on the theme of ‘journey’. Such performances aim to adhere to the style, aesthetic principles, and musical technique of the era in which the music was originally conceived. This December, Sanders will conduct DK in the annual ‘Messiah Sing-Along’ concert organised by the University of Hong Kong.
Sanders has coached students and choirs from a number of schools in Hong Kong, including Diocesan Boys' School, St Paul’s College, Sacred Heart Canossian College, Belilios Public School, and Diocesan Girls’ School. Choirs under his leadership have captured top prizes in local and international festivals and competitions, including two Gold Medals at the European Choir Games Grand Prix of Nations, and the title of Best Junior Choir of the Year (First Division) in the Hong Kong Schools’ Music Festival. Previously, he served as a part-time lecturer at Macao Polytechnic Institute, and a conductor at Hong Kong Children’s Choir.
As a speaker and clinician who is in high demand, Sanders has given lectures, workshops, and pre-concert talks for many organisations, such as Macau International Choral Festival, Eslite Bookstore, YMCA, Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui, Hong Kong Joint School Music Association, and most notably Hong Kong Arts Festival. He has conducted an abridged version of Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Sunset Boulevard for the Festival’s Young Friends members.
Sanders holds a Master of Music degree from Eastman School of Music, where he studied conducting with William Weinert and Brad Lubman; and historical performance practice with Paul O’Dette. At Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute, he studied with Ivars Taurins, Jeanne Lamon, and Peter Harvey. Sanders was selected to be a conducting fellow at Yale University’s Norfolk Chamber Choir & Conducting Workshop. Over the years, he learned from great masters such as Stephen Layton, Helmuth Rilling, Nicolas Fink, Simon Carrington and more. Previously, he read music at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), where he learned choral conducting from Esmond Lim and Felix Yeung. At CUHK, Sanders co-founded Aqua Voice, an undergraduate chamber choir that has since provided opportunities for students leaders who wish to develop their passion in choral music.
Outside of the classical music scene, Sanders is known for his work with Chan Fai Young x Women’s Choir (陳輝陽 x 女聲合唱). With the music video of ‘絕’ which attracted over hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube, their songs have reached the top charts on many streaming platforms. One of the project’s two studio-recorded albums was named the Best Collection Album in the 2017 Chinese Music Awards. Sanders sings baritone with the vocal jazz a cappella group jmJazz, which has won a Gold Medal at the World Contemporary A Cappella Competition in Taiwan. He was the producer of the much-loved music video of 「燕尾蝶」 for Greenpeace HK, which called for the protection of Hong Kong’s Country Parks.
Sanders was awarded Second Prize at the Hong Kong Choral Conducting Competition 2019.