A graduate of Columbia University and the Mannes College of Music, Aaron Dai began studying piano at the age of five and went on to win the UNICEF Youth Concerts Competition three times by the age of fifteen. He has concertized around the country, performing in New York venues such as CAMI Hall, Steinway Hall, and Symphony Space, and cities including Philadelphia, Houston, Phoenix, and San Francisco. Aaron studied with Rachael M. Perez Hayes and Denise Kahn. Other studies include accompaniment and collaborative piano with Marshall Williamson (Juilliard).
Aaron's venture into serious composition began at the University of Pennsylvania under the auspices of George Crumb, and he has since worked with composers Thomas Addison and Rudolph Palmer. His The Night Before Christmas for Narrator and Orchestra has been performed internationally and by actors such as Richard Kind (2006), Ana Gasteyer (2007), David Hyde Pierce (2008), Charles Busch (2009), Andrea Martin (2010), Rachel Dratch (2011), Mo Rocca (2012), Victor Garber (2013), BD Wong (2014), Seth Rudetsky (2015), Caroline Rhea (2016), Judy Gold (2017), and Annie Golden (2018). He has a history of fruitful collaboration with artists in other fields, including abstract painter Louise Fishman, poet Eileen Myles, and choreographer Kevin Hill. For his fifteen-minute miniature opera Hamlet, he collaborated with Pulitzer-nominated playwright Jon Marans, and the opera premiered in New York City with actor Darius de Haas in the title role. His symphonic poem The Whydah Returns was added to the archives of the Whydah Museum in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and To a Ten-Year-Old—written in commemoration of the tenth anniversary of 9/11—was incorporated into the aural archives of the National September 11 Memorial Museum. The commissioned choral work You Yourself Must Change It (text by poet Adrienne Rich) premiered in The Town Hall in New York City and aired nationally on Sirius XM Satellite Radio for two months. Aaron is a four-time recipient of the ASCAP Plus Award, Concert Music Division.
A former clarinetist, oboist, and bassoonist, Aaron is now a staff pianist at the Mannes College of Music and the pianist for the New York City Gay Men's Chorus. He lives and teaches in New York City.