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Save The Music was thrilled to have principal clarinetist of the Phoenix Symphony, Alexander Laing, at Desert Thunder School to present a very special master class to the band students. He started off with a demo of his instrument.

He then gave a few students a lesson on conducting, teaching them a simple technique to remember the hand movements.

The new student conductors had a chance to show off their skills!

Some brave students volunteered to play a duet in front of the class, and Mr. Laing joined to make a trio!

Superintendent, Dr. Betsy Hargrove sent a special message to us during the class, “He has NO idea how amazing he is with kids!! Thank you so much for bringing him here!!! He is making me tear up!!”

Save The Music music education grant

Thank you to the A. Wallace Denny Fund for Music Education at the Arizona Community Foundation and the John F. Long Foundation for making this Core Band Grant possible!

About Alex Laing: 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.
​An accomplished instrumental artist, Alex’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 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.
Reflecting his belief that ‘music isn’t just sound; it’s sounds, words and people’ 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.
Alex 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.
Alex has been an invited speaker to the annual conferences of both the Association of British Orchestras and the League of American Orchestras where, in 2019 he was a keynote speaker. 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 Orchestra’s ‘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.
About The Phoenix Symphony: The Phoenix Symphony is Arizona’s largest performing arts organization. Founded in 1947 as a part-time orchestra in a city of fewer than 100,000 people, The Symphony has grown to become Arizona’s only full-time symphony orchestra.
The mission of The Phoenix Symphony is to provide the joy of music as a catalyst in helping Arizona to become the best place in America to work and live. We accomplish this mission by creating high quality music experiences to feed the souls of our residents, to bolster the cultural economy and to educate and strengthen our next generation resulting in a creative workforce.
Each season, The Phoenix Symphony offers awe-inspiring Classics and Pops concerts and one-of-a-kind Specials in downtown Phoenix and throughout central Arizona. The Symphony also offers a number of unique fundraising events such as Parties of Note, the Savor the Symphony Women’s Luncheon and our New Year’s Eve Gala.
The Symphony’s Education and Community Engagement programs reach over 125,000 individuals each year. Our programs ensure that any individual – regardless of means or background – is given equal opportunity to develop skills and grow through imaginative, high quality musical experiences. For many, this is their first exposure to orchestral music. From offering Symphony Hall field trips to school-based concerts, The Symphony also offers a cross-cultural music residency with the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and a partnership with Arizona State Preparatory Academy, a three-year STE[+a]M professional development model to train teachers and Symphony musicians in how to teach and assess STEM concepts through music. The Symphony’s B-Sharp Music Wellness, a W.O.N.D.E.R. Project continues to move the needle on innovative community outreach through the healing power of music with live, interactive performances presented by Symphony musicians in healthcare settings and homeless outreach centers. Program delivery is purely service oriented where making life better for those most in need is the one and only objective.