As a composer, conductor, producer, writer, lecturer, and teacher, Kawai Shiu has received numerous awards in recognition of his work. Composition awards presented to Kawai include a Special Commendation in the Vienna Modern Masters' Orchestral Recording Award, an Honorable Mention in the ASCAP Rudolf Nissim Award, three Frederic Goossen Composition Prizes, the SCI/ASCAP Student Composition Commission Award (Southeast Region), ASCAP Annual Awards, Kent Kennan Scholarships, and funding from the American Music Center. In addition, he has received numerous travel and research grants from different academic institutions including Capstone International Center. Recent major engagements include a South Bank Centre (London) commission for Endymion at the Purcell Room and a commission from the Cheltenham Festival (UK). In May this year, Around Sound Arts Festival commissioned Kawai for a new work for the Hong Kong New Music Ensemble.
In 2001, the University of Alabama established the Kawai Shiu Music Composition Fund, dedicated to the composer's commissioned work bir[d] w[h]istle for solo flutist and ensemble. Its premiere performance was conducted by eminent British composer Sir Harrison Birtwistle with flutist Sheryl Cohen. Other commissions and performances include those from clarinetist Alan Hacker for the International Clarinet Course in Spain and Dartington Festival in U.K., saxophonist Jonathan Noffsinger for the World Saxophone Congress in Canada, In Midair Festival, pianists Albert Tiu and Kenneth Saxon, and the Alabama Wind Ensemble. Kawai has also made a guest appearance at the Pacific Contemporary Music Festival in Los Angeles with his own ensemble, kawai and the musicians.
Kawai’s music has been recorded by CRI (New World Records), Vienna Modern Masters, Ablaze Records, and Soy Sauce Records. Critical acclaim for Kawai's music has been offered by prominent music review publications including American Record Guide and Fanfare. His music is widely broadcast on radio worldwide and online. Kawai was the featured composer at RTHK-4; a series of four one-hour programs were dedicated to his music and interviews with the composer. Recently, Chicago based the CUBE Ensemble performed his music in a live broadcast program. Kawai is also a prolific writer. His published work includes poetry, drama, and writings on music and art criticism. He is also a credited contributor to a number of pedagogical publications on instrumental methods.
In 2002, Kawai served as the Music Director of the British Royal National Theatre's critically acclaimed production of Euripides' Bacchai, directed by Tony Award winner Sir Peter Hall. As a researcher, Kawai attended Swiss Paul Sacher Stiftung as a Research Fellow with the foundation's grant. A lecture performance co-developed by Sir Harrison Birtwistle and Kawai on Swiss artist Paul Klee has been presented at Hayward Gallery (London), British Royal Academy of Arts, and Lucerne Festival. In 2008, Kawai was appointed Advisor of soundpocket, a government funded charitable organization which engages with culturally-grounded and publicly relevant sonic practices. For his contributions to the musical field, Kawai Shiu was selected for inclusion in International Who's Who in Music and Musicians' Directory, Dictionary of International Biography, Who's Who in Hong Kong, and General Guide of Industrial Enterprises in China's Various Provinces.
Kawai has taught in the area of composition/music theory at Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, University of Florida and University of Alabama. He was appointed Honorary Visiting Professor of Music at the Conservatorium of Music at the University of Tasmania in 2006.