Alex Laing – Violin – Leader and Artistic Director

AlexbnwwhiteshirtAlex began his musical education at the Edinburgh Academy and later at St. Mary’s Music School. There he studied violin with Warren Jacobs and was privileged to have opportunities of working closely with Lord Menuhin, the School’s Patron. Alex is a graduate of Cambridge University. While studying music at Christ’s College, he also held one of the University’s prestigious Instrumental Awards, which led to master classes with The Endellion String Quartet. Thereafter he attended Birmingham Conservatoire, where his violin studies continued with Jacqueline Ross. He was awarded the Diploma of Professional Studies in Music Performance, the flagship postgraduate degree at the Conservatoire. For his final degree recital he performed the Alban Berg Violin Concerto with the Conservatoire Symphony Orchestra. While in Birmingham Alex has also studied with Peter Thomas and Michael Bochmann.

Alex is founder and artistic director of the Darwin Ensemble Chamber Orchestra (DECO), which is entering its sixth season and is receiving increasing acclaim. The orchestra specialises in accessible classical music, and it draws large audiences across all generations. DECO also puts great store on promoting professional performers at the start of their careers. The orchestra has attracted the attention of the country’s finest performers. DECO’s first soloist was Simon Blendis (leader of the Schubert Ensemble) and other notable soloists include George Caird (oboe) and Jack Liebeck (Classical Brit Award winning violinist and professor at the Royal Academy of Music). Alex himself has appeared as soloist with DECO in Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and in both the Bach double violin concerto and the double violin and oboe concerto (with George Caird).

Alex has a strong love of chamber music. He has been lucky enough to study with Gábor Takács-Nagy at IMS at Prussia Cove and at the Haute École de Musique in Geneva. For many years he led the Astaria String Quartet and presently he works in a piano trio, the Balnic Trio. He enjoys passing on his love of chamber music to young people who attend the coaching weekend each summer at Uppingham School. Alex also enjoys writing both about music and about teaching. He has an increasing portfolio of programme notes created for DECO, recitals and for other performers and his articles on violin teaching are regularly published in magazines for the European String Teachers Association (ESTA).

Alex is the Musical Director and Conductor of the National Children’s Orchestras of Great Britain East Region and also acts as a violin tutor and conductor on NCO courses. He is Head of Strings at Uppingham School where he conducts the Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra and Senior String Ensemble. He also teaches at the Junior Department of the Royal College of Music. His violin students have enjoyed success as members of the NCO and of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, and have won scholarships to music colleges. He has also coached chamber music to national standard: in each of the last two years, Uppingham’s chamber musicians have been prize winners in The Pro Corda Chamber Music Festival