Meet Anthony

Composer, orchestrator, and songwriter. Director of the Seaway Chorale and Orchestra. Lead guitarist for Sarah and The Sugar Ham Band. Director of Bands at Henry Ford College. Anthony Lai is multi-faceted musician from metro Detroit. Dearborn, specifically.

Four-times nominated as “Outstanding Classical Composer” in the Detroit Music Awards, his music draws upon a wide variety of influences from The Beatles and the popular music of the 1960s, to film and television composers like James Horner and Alf Clausen, to 20th-century classical masters, including Holst, Copland, Shostakovich, and Debussy.

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, Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Costa Rica, Henry Ford Big Band, the Flux Quartet, and Sage Strings of New York. 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, 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 also teaches music theory, technology, and literature at Henry Ford College.

He holds an M.M. in conducting and a B.M. in music composition from Wayne State University in Detroit under Composer James Hartway and conductor Kypros Markou. He has also studied conducting at the New England Conservatory under Frank Battisti and Charles Peltz, University of Michigan with Michael Haithcock, Courtney Snyder, and Eugene Rogers, and the Los Angeles Film Conducting Intensive (LAFCI) with Angel Velez.