Alex McLaughlin

Acting Principal Viola

For Alex McLaughlin, a career in classical music is one that exemplifies variety and a need to perform. This drive has led Alex to seek performances in many different musical settings, from performing at Edinburgh Castle with the Strawberry Hill Fiddlers, to serving as the Acting Principal Violist of the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra (ECSO), or to educating children at a small library in Blossburg, PA. Alex is a graduate of both the Eastman School of Music and the Yale School of Music, receiving the Robert L. Oppelt award from the former and being a featured artist in the Oneppo Chamber Series of the latter. Alex has appeared in several festivals in the United States, including Spoleto Festival USA, the Bowdoin International Music Festival, the Weekend of Chamber Music, and the Endless Mountain Music Festival. In addition to the ECSO, Alex regularly performs with the Greater Newburgh Symphony Orchestra, the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, the Norwalk Symphony Orchestra, and the Woodstock Symphony Orchestra. Alex is also an active chamber musician, being a founding member of the Havenwood String Quartet in New Haven, CT as well as a frequent collaborator with the Beryllium String Quartet in NYC. Alex has had the honor of working with many masters of the viola in his career, including Emily Schaad, Carol Rodland, Ettore Causa, Masumi Per Rostad, Jeffrey Irvine, and Kim Kashkashian. He currently performs on a 1970 viola by Otto Erdesz.

Favorite Composer
My violist heart belongs to Hindemith, but my favorite very well might be Maurice Ravel. I haven’t heard a single work of his I don’t love!

What inspires you to play?
I am inspired by a great deal of things in this crazy world we live in, but the first inspiration for music I had was my older brother! I would watch him in his lessons and perform in our elementary orchestra, leading me to take his violin when he wasn’t practicing and try and mimic what I saw! Eventually my mum took notice and asked if I wanted to play a stringed instrument. Viola was the only choice for me, and I haven’t stopped playing since!

Hidden Talents
I’m an amateur baker, inspired by people like Claire Saffitz, Thalia Ho, and my Grandma Mary Ann McLaughlin (pies are my specialty, though I enjoy any sort of sweetie!). Besides that, I collect rock and mineral samples and play video games from time to time (many of which have amazing soundtracks, like Earthbound, Chrono Trigger, and Omori)!

Favorite Quote
“It isn’t a sadness, but a joy, that we don’t do the same things for the length of our lives.”
– Marx Watanabe, from Gabrielle Zevin’s novel “Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow.”