A graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music under Gary Graffman, pianist Lio Kuok-Wai is a recipient of the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant administered by Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the Career Advancement Award given by the Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia, Scholarship Awards by the Macau Cultural Affairs Bureau and the Feltsman Piano Foundation.
Praised by the Vancouver Sun as a "musician's musician,” for his "sensitive playing" by The New York Times, and his “hypnotic” effect by The Boston Musical Intelligencer, the Macau-born pianist is active as a soloist and chamber musician worldwide. He has performed at venues such as Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Tonhalle Zürich, Herkulessaal in Munich, Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing, Daiichi Semei Hall in Tokyo, Benjamin Franklin Hall at American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia, Terrace Theater at The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.. He has given recitals at the Ravinia Festival, Gilmore Rising Stars, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Amelia Island Music Festival, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, The Golandsky Institute at Princeton University, Gina Bachauer International Piano Foundation, Kissinger Sommer, Klavier-Festival Ruhr, Foundazione William Walton at Giardini La Mortella, San Francisco Performances, Communion and Liberation University Conference at Benedictine College in Kansas, The Peggy Rockefeller Concert Series, Vancouver Recital Society, Hong Kong Arts Festival, and the Foundation for Chinese Performing Arts in Boston. Kuok-Wai was chosen to step in for the legendary pianist, Radu Lupu, for a recital in Town Hall, New York to critical acclaim.
Kuok-Wai is currently a student of Stanislav Ioudenitch at the International Center for Music at Park University. A former student of Gabriel Kwok at The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, Peter Frankl and Boris Berman at the Yale University, and Jack Winerock at the University of Kansas. Kuok-Wai was invited by Sir András Schiff to take part in many of his masterclasses in Europe and by Leon Fleisher to attend a mentorship program at Caramoor Rising Stars in upstate New York.
A frequent participant in the Marlboro Music Festival and Marlboro on Tour, Kuok-Wai has collaborated with musicians such as Kim Kashkashian, Pamela Frank, Harvey de Souza, Cho-Liang Lin, Marc Neikrug, Christoph Richter, Hsin-Yun Huang, and members of the Shanghai, Julliard, Guarneri, Johannes, Dover, and Emerson String Quartets. At an anniversary celebration of Sándor Végh, founding member of the International Musicians Seminar in Prussia Cove, Kuok-Wai was chosen to take part in masterclasses and concerts at Wigmore Hall in London and the Salzburg Festival.
Since his concerto debut at the age of ten with the Macau Orchestra at the opening ceremony of the Macau Arts Festival in 2000, Kuok-Wai has performed with orchestras that include the China Philharmonic, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Camerata Salzburg, Kansas City Symphony Orchestra, Hangzhou Philharmonic Orchestra, Houston Symphony Orchestra and conductors Li Xin-Cao, Edo de Waart, Francois Xavier-Roth, and Michael Stern.
A top prize winner in the International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians, Gina Bachauer International Young Artists Competition, Fulbright Concerto Competition, Chopin International Piano Competition in Asia, International Institute for Young Musicians Piano Competition, Ettlingen International Piano Competition, Steinway & Sons International Piano Competition, Kuok-Wai received an Honourific Title of Merit given by the former Chief Executive of Macau, Edmund Ho Hau Wah. He was also invited to perform for Hu Jin-Tao, then President of the People’s Republic of China; the late Stanley Ho; Tung Chee-Wha, former Chief Executive of Hong Kong; and Prince Edward, the Duke of Kent.
Lio Kuok-Wai was featured in the Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in May 2023.