Kalena Bovell is Assistant Conductor of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra. This season she conducted numerous Pops, Education, and Run-out concerts as well covered Maestro Robert Moody and guest conductors on Masterworks and Classic Accent concerts. She is also conductor of the Memphis Youth Symphony.
Bovell worked with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra prior to her current appointment: in 2016 assisting former Music Director Mei-Ann Chen's farewell performances. She has also served in an Assistant Conductor role with both St. Louis and Hartford Symphonies, and has covered well established conductors Gemma New and Carolyn Kuan.
Quickly becoming “one of the brightest stars in the world of classical music,” (Channel 3 News) Bovell was Music Director of the Civic Orchestra of New Haven for the 2018-2019 season. During her tenure, she committed to deepening the artistic level of the orchestra while expanding its reach into the community. In 2018, Bovell conducted two short operas for Hartford Opera Theater’s New in November, and in 2019 Bovell guest conducted the New Britain Symphony in a program of Dance Music.
Holding conducting fellowships with the Allentown Symphony and the Chicago Sinfonietta, Bovell became assistant conductor of the Chicago Sinfonietta for the 2016-2017 season. She made her professional debut during the MLK Tribute concerts in Chicago’s Symphony Center. That same year, Ms. Bovell was a finalist for Marin Alsop’s Taki Concordia Fellowship. In 2015 she was awarded 3rd place in the college/university division in the American Prize.
A dedicated educator, Bovell was the Orchestra Director at the Loomis Chaffee School in Windsor, CT. for four years. In 2015, she conducted a fully staged ballet production of the Swan Princess, based on Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. In Orange, California, Bovell was the Assistant Conductor of the Philharmonic Society's Orange County Youth Symphony for two seasons. She was also Assistant Conductor and Strings Coach for the Prelude Strings Orchestra.
Born in Los Angeles, California, Bovell is a graduate of Chapman University’s College of the Performing Arts receiving a Bachelor of Music in Music Education. She went on to receive a Master’s Degree and Graduate Professional Diploma in instrumental conducting from The Hartt School, where she studied with Edward Cumming.
In addition to conducting, Bovell is a published author and released her first collection of poems titled “Dear Soul…” in 2009.