Tak Ng Lai commenced his music education at the Canton Conservatory of Music in China. He furthered his studies in Hong Kong and completed them at the Vienna Conservatory of Music with a joint major in violin and conducting before coming to Canada in 1977 as a participant in the Conductor’s Workshop at the University of Toronto. Lai currently teaches violin, viola, and conducts in the Toronto area. Lai is a past director of both the Niagara Youth Orchestra and the Mississauga Youth Orchestra. He was the first conductor of the Canadian Chamber Academy and during his early years in Canada he served as the assistant conductor of the Niagara Symphony Orchestra. For several years he served as the Principal Guest Conductor of the Canton Philharmonic and Choral Society. Maestro Lai has guest conducted in Europe, North America, and Asia with, among others, the Moscow Symphony, the Vancouver Symphony, the Windsor Symphony, the Shanghai Philharmonic, the Taiwan Symphony, the Beijing Symphony, and the Xiamen Philharmonic Orchestras.
Over the years, Lai has contributed a great deal to the musical life in Toronto. In 1977 he founded the Toronto Chinese Philharmonic Orchestra and in 1983, he established the Chinese Canadian Choir of Toronto. Through these activities he was very active in the promotion of Chinese artists, musicians and composers. This further led to the establishment of the Chinese Canadian Music Society of Ontario. In 1985, the Chinese Community Centre of Ontario presented a certificate of appreciation to Maestro Lai for his Outstanding and Dedicated Service.