Alexander Laing. Photo by Jared Platt.

In association with Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, Gateways Music Festival—dedicated to connecting and supporting professional classical musicians of African descent—has announced leadership succession plans. In July 2023, Gateways musician, volunteer leader, and board member Alexander Laing will become Gateways’ executive director. He will work alongside current President and Artistic Director Lee Koonce before succeeding Koonce as president and artistic director in January 2024, at the conclusion of Koonce’s seven-year tenure leading the organization. Koonce will take on the newly created position of senior advisor. Alexander Laing is principal clarinet for the Phoenix Symphony and the Gateways Music Festival Orchestra. Laing has been a featured speaker at conferences including those of the Association of British Orchestras and the League of American Orchestras. As a teacher, he has partnered with the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s YOLA, the National Youth Orchestra of the United States, the League of American Orchestras, and Juilliard’s Evening Division. A graduate of Northwestern University, he holds a 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 Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation. Laing is a co-founder of the Black Orchestral Network, a group of Black musicians seeking to build a richer and more robust American orchestral community.