Anthony Lai is an active and eclectic composer, conductor, and music educator. Four-times nominated as “Outstanding Classical Composer” in the Detroit Music Awards, most recently 2017, his music seeks to find a balance between complexity and accessibility. In whatever medium, he draws upon a wide variety of influences that range from the clean sonorities of Aaron Copland to the unusual tone colors the The Beatles. He is currently the conductor and music director of the Seaway Chorale and Orchestra.
His work has been commissioned by several notable parties, including the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Red Wings, and University of Michigan professor Donald Sinta, a leading performer of contemporary classical saxophone repertoire. His orchestrations have been performed by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Wayne State University Orchestra, Studio 110 Jazz Orchestra, Henry Ford Big Band, Seaway Chorale and Orchestra, and the Flux Quartet.
He has scored seven theatre productions for Henry Ford College in Dearborn, including their Virtual Theatricality Lab’s 2014 interactive multi-media production titled Dinosaurus! and the 2013 mini-musical Snow White and the Dwarves.
In 2013, he conducted a live-premiere performance of his score to the silent film Death of a Snowbird, commissioned by and performed at the International Broke Student Film Festival. The year prior, he worked with the Experimental Performing Arts Association to compose Movement Macbeth, a dark and synth-driven score to an avant-garde performance of Shakespeare that used silent motion and music alone to convey the haunting storyline.
A passionate educator, Lai teaches music theory, technology, and history of rock and roll at Henry Ford College in Dearborn, MI.
Lai holds an M.M. in conducting and a B.M. in music composition from Wayne State University in Detroit. He has studied under James Hartway, Kypros Markou, Robert Conway, G. Kevin Dewey, and Randall Knight.