Principal Clarinet of The Phoenix Symphony Alex Laing has been announced as one of the 2018 recipients of the Sphinx Medals of Excellence by the Sphinx Organization, the national social justice and arts nonprofit dedicated to transforming lives through the power of diversity in the arts. The additional winners were Mezzo-soprano J’Nai Bridges and Colombian-American cellist Christine Lamprea.

Sphinx Medals of Excellence is a program that recognizes three emerging classical artists of color. Through a national nomination process, Sphinx identifies musicians who, early in their professional career, demonstrate the following qualities: artistic excellence, outstanding work ethic, a spirit of determination, and ongoing commitment to leadership. The three selected honorees receive a $50,000 career grant, bestowed at a private luncheon at The Kennedy Center and celebrated at a black-tie gala in Washington D.C. The newly-announced 2018 medalists will be honored at the seventh annual Sphinx Medals of Excellence celebration on March 21, 2018.

Alexander Laing, citizen artist and principal clarinet of the Phoenix Symphony, 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 of directors for Arizona School for the Arts, on both the Artistic and Strategic Planning Committees for Gateways Music Festival, and 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. 

In The Phoenix Symphony’s Opening Night concerts this weekend, September 15 & 16, Alex Laing will be the featured soloist in Leonard Bernstein’s Prelude, Fugue and Riffs for Jazz Ensemble and Solo Clarinet. The Bernstein will open the concert, which also includes Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto and the featured piece Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring.