Born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Julian is an active performer, session musician, and educator in the Malaysian and regional music scene since 2001. He is a Master of Music (MM) graduate of the jazz program in Queens College, City University of New York (CUNY) where he studied with acclaimed contemporary jazz musicians, such as Antonio Hart, Michael Mossman, (late) Prof. Emeritus Howard Brofsky and David Berkman. Like most musicians in the Malaysian music scene, Julian started his career performing in a variety of musical situations, from hotel lounge bands, wedding dinners, birthday dinners, corporate events, product launches, etc. It wasn’t long before Julian reputation as a capable and versatile musician grew and this opened many opportunities to perform and work with more notable musicians and artistes, as well as recording for various sessions, ranging from advertisement jingles to albums.
Julian has performed with both Malaysian and international artistes such as Michael Veerapen (MY), Mac Chew (MY), Jenny Chin (MY), Jeremy Monteiro (SG), Koh Mr. Saxman (THAI), Laura Fygi, James Morrison (AUS), Eugene Pao (HK), Isao Miyoshi (JP), Tony Lakatos (GER), Jonathan Lee 李宗盛 (Taiwan), Jeff Chang 张信哲 (Taiwan), Sheila Majid (MY), James Flynn (AUS), Anthony Strong (UK), Claude Diallo (Switzerland/NY). He has also shared the stage with many prominent musicians such as Antonio Hart, Randy Brecker, Fritz Renold, Christian Jacobs, Tony Lakatos, Helen Sung, Carmen Bradford (from the Count Basie Orchestra), vocalist Kenny Washington, and Bobby Watson. Julian has also performed in many festivals including Java Jazz Festival, Macau Jazz Festival, SingJazz International Jazz Festival, Tianjin International Jazz Festival, ASEAN Jazz Festival (Malaysia), EFG London Jazz Festival, Penang International Jazz Festival, Borneo International Jazz Festival, Hua Hin International Jazz Festival among others.
Julian has established himself as a prominently versatile saxophonist in the country, and has performed in many different music settings (from jazz to symphonic music) and with a wide variety of music projects such as WVC - Malaysian Jazz Ensemble, RTM Orchestra/Big Band, Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonic Winds of Malaysia, Q Sound, The Lawrence Wright Ensemble; performed in Malaysian musicals such as “LAT Kampung Boy”, “SuperMokh”, and many other stage productions. He has recorded in several instrumental and vocal albums with some of these ensembles as well as commercial recordings since the beginning of his music career. He has also performed in several big bands in the region such as the Jazz Association of Singapore Orchestra (JASSO), MPO Big Band (performing with Laura Fygi), Brass Explosion All Star Big Band featuring James Morrison. In 2018, Julian formed his own big band - the Julian Chan Jazz Orchestra (JCJO) and made their debut performance at the Damansara Performing Arts Centre (Kuala Lumpur) in September 2018.
Previous recording projects include recording/co-producing NY-based Malaysian violinist Fung Chern Hwei's album “From The Heart”, NY-based Japanese pianist Ayako Sato’s album ANONYMOUS 5 “A New Hope”, being a Producer/musical director/musician for “Let’s Go Mamak” and “Let’s Go Mamak, Again!” (by Inner Voices Productions) a Malaysian-music fusion concert involving Malaysian traditional instruments with modern instruments. In 2011, The CLAUDE DIALLO SITUATION released a live recording CD of their debut Malaysian performance at No Black Tie in July 2010, called “LIVE AT NO BLACK TIE, featuring JULIAN CHAN”, where Julian appeared as a guest saxophonist. Julian was also featured in the 2012 release of Winnie Ho’s “The Jazzy Sounds of Teresa Teng” (Pop Pop Music) and the 2013 compilation “BLOOM” (Pop Pop Music). He also previously performed and recorded with WVC Malaysian Jazz Ensemble in albums such as "Eleven", "Waiting For That Day", "Do Not Go Gently" and "Give Thy Ear".
Julian is also an active educator in Malaysia. Aside from being an adjunct lecturer at the Institute of Music, UCSI University and running his own saxophone studio, Julian has conducted workshops and masterclasses and other educational activities in schools and other institutions from around the country.
Julian is a Yanagisawa Saxophones Artiste and uses Yanagisawa saxophones and accessories.