Anthony Lai is a composer, conductor, orchestrator, singer/songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist from metro Detroit. Four-times nominated as “Outstanding Classical Composer” in the Detroit Music Awards, most recently 2017, his music 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 in Trenton, MI.
His work has been commissioned by several notable parties, including the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Red Wings, and Donald Sinta, one of the most influential performers of 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, the Flux Quartet, and Sage Strings. Comfortable working in both classical and popular music, his orchestration work includes collaborations with Luis Resto (writer and co-producer for Eminem) and Jena Irene Asciutto (American Idol runner-up).
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. He has also studied conducting at the New England Conservatory under Frank Battisti and Charles Peltz.