Photo by Jared Platt

Photo by Jared Platt

Alex Laing

Principal Clarinet, Phoenix Symphony

An accomplished instrumental 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.

Laing's work represents a modern take on orchestral practice. Active in his community as a performing and teaching artist, he is committed to exploring how an orchestral musician—and an orchestra—navigates the push and pull between a legacy art form and its unfixed future.

A long time believer in community-engaged music making, he recently started The Leading Tone, a nonprofit after-school program. The project brings music instruction to kids while exploring music as a context for youth development.

Laing 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. A former fellow of the Tanglewood Music Center, Aspen Music Festival, New World Symphony, and Detroit Symphony Orchestra, he has in recent years been an invited speaker to the annual conferences of both the Association of British Orchestras and the League of American Orchestras. He was a faculty member for the 2017 National Take A Stand Festival and the 2018 League of American Orchestras Essentials of Orchestra Management seminar and serves on the board of directors for Gateways Music Festival and Arizona School for the Arts.

A graduate of Northwestern University, Laing 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.