Alex Laing began playing the clarinet at age 11 in Silver Spring, Md., his hometown. In 2002, he joined the Phoenix Symphony as principal clarinet. This year, he has been announced as one of the 2018 recipients of the Sphinx Medals of Excellence. The Sphinx Organization is the national social justice and arts nonprofit dedicated to transforming lives through the power of diversity in the arts.
The program recognizes three emerging classical artists of color. Through a national nomination process, Sphinx identifies musicians who, early in their professional career, demonstrate artistic excellence, outstanding work ethic, a spirit of determination and ongoing commitment to leadership. The three honorees receive a $50,000 grant, bestowed at a private luncheon at The Kennedy Center and celebrated at a black-tie gala in Washington D.C. The 2018 medalists will be honored on March 21, 2018.
Laing is a performing and teaching artist. He has completed fellowships with the Tanglewood Music Center, New World Symphony, Aspen Music Festival and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. He serves on the board for Arizona School for the Arts and on both the artistic and strategic planning committees for Gateways Music Festival. He co-chairs the Institutional Readiness task force for the League of American Orchestras’ Diversity Forum. Laing recently started The Leading Tone, a nonprofit after-school music program that brings music instruction to kids while exploring music as a context for youth development.
PHOTO COURTESY PHOENIX SYMPHONY