Kalena Bovell

Youth Symphony Conductor

Memphis Youth Symphony Program

The Memphis Youth Symphony Program celebrates musical development in a fun, inclusive, and collaborative community.

My Story

Hailed as “one of the brightest stars in the world of classical music,” (Channel 3 News) Kalena 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 to conduct two short operas by Dawn Sonntag for Hartford Opera Theater’s New in November.

​Ms. Bovell worked with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra in 2016, assisting former Music Director, Mei-Ann Chen for her final masterworks concert. Ms. Bovell has also assisted Gemma New, resident conductor of the St. Louis Symphony and Carolyn Kuan, Music Director of the Hartford Symphony. As a conductor with dynamic presence and charisma, and praised for her “brilliant conducting skills,” (Chicago Tribune) Ms. Bovell was Assistant Conductor of the Chicago Sinfonietta, making her professional debut in 2017 during the MLK Tribute concert. That same year, Ms. Bovell was a finalist for Marin Alsop’s prestigious Taki Concordia Fellowship. Ms. Bovell has also held conducting fellowships with the Chicago Sinfonietta and the Allentown Symphony Orchestra. In 2015, she won 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.

A dedicated educator, Ms. Bovell was the Orchestra Director at the Loomis Chaffee School in Windsor, CT for four years. 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.



The Memphis Youth Symphony Program (MYSP) was formed by Maestro Vincent de Frank in 1966 under the umbrella of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra. In March 2006, MYSP legally separated from the Memphis Symphony and reorganized as a separate and distinct nonprofit organization. MYSP provides and augments education in classical music for talented young musicians of the Mid-South, including ensemble participation, rehearsal, and performance. The program engages about 200 children annually, ages 7-19 years, from the tri-state area. All students (public, private, rural, faith-based, and home schooled) are invited to audition. The result is a diverse mix of students that reflects the community's culture and complexion.


The Memphis Youth Symphony Program celebrates musical development in a fun, inclusive, and collaborative community.


MYSP is recognized as one of the most inclusive year-round creative youth development programs in the Mid-South. MYSP instills life-long values of discipline, teamwork, creative problem solving, and musical appreciation in students from all socio-economic and cultural backgrounds.


The Memphis Youth Symphony Program is committed to creating an organization that values diversity, equity, and inclusion by: 

  • Offering financial aid to any family with need. Cost should never be a barrier for those with talent and desire.

  • Recruiting from all Mid-South communities.

  • Embracing a variety of musical levels.