B i o g r a p h y
Kalena Bovell is the newly-appointed Assistant Conductor of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra for the 2019-2020 season where she will conduct a large portion of Pops and Education Concerts.
Hailed as “one of the brightest stars in the world of classical music,” (Channel 3 News) Ms. Bovell was Music Director of the Civic Orchestra of New Haven for the 2018-2019 season. Under her direction, the Civic Orchestra expanded their visibility within the New Haven community, continuing their tradition of providing high quality and accessible music performances through innovative programming and community engagement. This past season Ms. Bovell also guest conducted the New Britain Symphony in their March “Dance for Joy” concert and returned for Hartford Opera Theater’s New in November to conduct two short operas by Dawn Sonntag.
Described as a conductor who possesses confidence and charisma both on and off the podium, Ms. Bovell has worked with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, the St. Louis Symphony and the Hartford Symphony. She assisted former Memphis Symphony Orchestra Music Director Mei-Ann Chen for her final masterworks concert in 2016. Ms. Bovell has also covered conducted for Gemma New and Carolyn Kuan.
Ms. Bovell held conducting fellowships with the Allentown Symphony and the Chicago Sinfonietta. Because of her success with Sinfonietta, Ms. Bovell became assistant conductor for the 2016-2017 season and made her professional debut as part of 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 American Prize for the college/university division.
An active participant in workshops and festivals, Ms. Bovell has worked with Larry Rachleff, Donald Schleicher, Johannes Schlaefli, Diane Wittry, and Kenneth Kiesler. She received coaching’s from Michael Morgan, Rossen Milanov, Gerard Schwarz and Bill Eddins.
As an advocate of contemporary music, Ms. Bovell has premiered several works by local Connecticut composers. In 2018, she commissioned and premiered composer Andrew Ardizzoia's work Farewell Processes for harp and strings. In 2016, she premiered a rock and roll requiem for SATB soloists, saxophone quartet and percussion as well as an orchestral suite for strings, percussion and harp.
A dedicated educator, Ms. Bovell was the Orchestra Director at the Loomis Chaffee School in Windsor, CT for four years. 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 for two seasons. She was also the Assistant Conductor and Strings Coach for the Prelude Youth Orchestras, an organization dedicated to providing orchestral experience to elementary and middle school aged children.
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.