Memphis Symphony Orchestra Announces Kalena Bovell As New Assistant Conductor

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A new and exciting chapter opens as the Memphis Symphony Orchestra has recently appointed a new Assistant Conductor, Kalena Bovell. She will be conducting the MSO for the highly anticipated Leslie Odom Jr., Live concert at The Orpheum on June 28th.

No stranger to Memphis, Ms. Bovell assisted former MSO Music Director, Mei-Ann Chen for her final masterworks concert in 2016. This past year she assisted Gemma New as resident conductor of the St. Louis Symphony. Ms. Bovell has held conducting fellowships with the Allentown Symphony and the Chicago Sinfonietta. After a very successful tenure as a fellow, Ms. Bovell became the Assistant Conductor for the Chicago Sinfonietta for the 2016-17 season and made her professional debut as part of the MLK Tribute concerts in Chicago's Symphony Center. She has also worked with the Hartford and New Britain Symphonies in Connecticut. She leaves her most recent position as the Music Director of the Civic Orchestra in New Haven, CT where she strove to provide high quality and accessible music performances through innovative programming and community engagement.

"I am incredibly excited to welcome Kalena to the music world in Memphis," said MSO Music Director, Robert Moody. "By 'music world,' I mean the entire circumference of Memphis music. Kalena has a great amount of talent, potential, and interest in the various musical colors that make up the palette of our city. She is gregarious, inquisitive, and a natural leader. Our professional orchestra, youth orchestras, and audiences are going to love her!"

A dedicated educator, Ms. Bovell has worked with various youth ensembles, spreading her passion for classical music. She was the Orchestra Director at the Loomis Chaffee School for four years in Windsor, CT. In 2015, she conducted a fully staged, three act ballet production of the Swan Princess, based on Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake. In Orange County, California, Ms. Bovell was the Assistant Conductor of the Orange County Youth Symphony Orchestra and a Strings Coach for the Prelude Youth Orchestras, an organization dedicated to providing a premier orchestral experience for young children. She very much looks forward to conducting the Orchestra and youth musicians for the Orff Side by Side concerts throughout the upcoming school year in partnership with Shelby County Schools.

"As the new Assistant Conductor of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra," she said, "we are an educational ambassador for the Memphis community and its youth programs."

During her time in Memphis, she visited the National Civil Rights Museum. As an African-American/Hispanic woman, standing amongst the exhibits in the Lorraine Motel, it was a deeply moving experience for Ms. Bovell. Seeing her history allowed her to picture a life and career in conjunction with the mission of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, where she can cultivate, engage, and maintain relationships with Memphis and Shelby County community members.

"This life is about more than me, it's about how many people we can influence and touch," said Ms. Bovell.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Ms. Bovell is a graduate of Chapman University's College of the Performing Arts where she received a Bachelor of Music in Music Education. She received a Master of Music Degree and Graduate Professional Diploma in instrumental conducting from The Hartt School, where she was a student of Edward Cumming. In addition to conducting, Ms. Bovell is also a published author and released her first collection of poems titled "Dear Soul..." in 2009.

Ms. Bovell will be replacing outgoing MSO Assistant Conductor, Andrew Crust, who has taken a position with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. Please learn more about Ms. Bovell by visiting her website at If you want to schedule an interview with Ms. Bovell please contact Bryan Artiles at 901-779-7830 or email at

About the Memphis Symphony Orchestra: The Memphis Symphony Orchestra, under Music Director Robert Moody, strives to enrich the lives of our diverse community through exceptional music and dynamic programs. More than 400 musicians, staff and volunteers make up the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, Memphis Symphony Chorus and the Memphis Symphony League, operating educational programs, organizing community engagement events and performing concerts. Find information about all upcoming performances, ticket purchases, the Memphis Symphony Orchestra's involvement in the Memphis community, and learn how to support MSO by visiting

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