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Alex Laing

About this Artist

Alex Laing began playing the clarinet at age 11 in his hometown of Silver Spring, Maryland.​

In 2002 he joined The Phoenix Symphony as principal clarinet.

Alex's work represents a modern take on orchestral practice. As an accomplished a performing and teaching artist who is active in his community, he is committed to exploring how both an orchestral musician and an orchestra navigate the push and pull between a legacy art form and its unfixed future.​

It’s his belief that music isn’t just sound; it’s sounds, words and people. Accordingly, he is frequently sought as a collaborator. In addition to his work with The Phoenix Symphony, recent seasons have found him contributing his sound in a range of other projects, including as a soloist with the Sphinx Virtuosi at Carnegie Hall, with Lawrence Brownlee in the world premiere of Tyshawn Sorey’s Cycle of My Being, with Thomas Hampson as part of his Song of America: Beyond Liberty project, with the Re-Collective Orchestra in the 2019 soundtrack recording of Disney’s The Lion King, and as a member of Gateways Festival Orchestra.

As an artist who teaches, Alex has a long-time interest in discovering how music can be useful outside the concert hall, which led to his starting The Leading Tone, a nonprofit after-school program. The project brings music to young people and explores teaching artistry and creative youth development.​

Alex is fortunate to have garnered honors and awards in his career, most recently being recognized with a 2018 Sphinx Medal of Excellence and named one of Musical America's Professionals of the Year for 2017. He is particularly excited about his most recent collaboration: joining the creative team for From The Top (FTT), the nationally broadcast radio show and platform for young musicians. In addition to making contributions to the radio show, he will play a role in mentoring and supporting the development of FTT’s incredible young musicians.

He has been an invited speaker to the annual conferences of both the Association of British Orchestras and the League of American Orchestras, where he was a keynote speaker in 2019. As a teacher, he has been a frequent collaborator with the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s YOLA (Youth Orchestra Los Angeles) program and a faculty member for both the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America (NYO-USA) and the League of American Orchestras’ Essentials of Orchestra Management seminar. He’s currently serving as lead faculty for the 2019/20 YOLA National Institute and on the board of directors for Gateways Music Festival and Arizona School for the Arts.

A graduate of Northwestern University, he received his master's degree in Orchestral Performance from the Manhattan School of Music, an artist's diploma from the Sweelinck Conservatorium Amsterdam, and a certificate in nonprofit management from Arizona State University's Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation.