Kai Sun is a Chinese-American saxophonist, born in Beijing, China. His sound has been described as pure, elegant and shimmering. He is the first member of his family to pursue music as a career, and has grown up surrounded by musical influences. Growing up in America, he has lived in several states, including Virginia, Washington, and New York, but considers himself to be a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Kai graduated in 2016 from Temple University, where he was a student of Matthew Levy, tenor saxophonist and executive director of the world-renowned PRISM Quartet. Under Levy’s mentorship, he has gained valuable insight into the art of chamber music and collaboration, and served as an administrative and production assistant for PRISM, using much of what he’s learned in his own professional career. He graduated in 2020 from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, where he studied with one of the titans of concert saxophone, Gary Louie. Kai’s performance career has taken him to prestigious venues such as The Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, and Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville.
Kai received degrees in Music Education and Performance from the West Chester University of Pennsylvania, where he was first introduced to the world of classical saxophone by his former teacher Greg Riley, and played jazz saxophone with the Criterions Big Band. As an educator, Kai has been a private studio teacher for over 10 years, having taught wonderful studios in the Philadelphia and Baltimore areas. He is currently a faculty member at the International School of Music in Potomac/Bethesda, MD and the Sloan School of Music in Urbana, MD.
Although classically-trained with a background in jazz, Kai doesn’t consider himself to fall squarely into either genre. His sound is a conglomerate, influenced by everyone he’s performed with. His joy and spark is in musical discovery and collaboration; championing new, artistic works by living composers, and performing alongside fellow musicians for adventurous and curious audience members. Kai has worked with composers from Peabody Conservatory, Temple University, and continues to seek new works to build upon the modern saxophone repertoire.
Kai is the executive artistic director and saxophonist of SMacK Trio, private teacher and freelance musician. He currently performs on Selmer saxophones and mouthpieces, Vandoren reeds and Ishimori ligatures.