Praised for her “brilliant conducting skills” (Chicago Tribune) Kalena Bovell is described as a young conductor who possesses innate confidence and charisma. A vibrant conductor and educator, Kalena has just completed her tenure as Assistant Conductor for the 2016 – 17 Season with the Chicago Sinfonietta and made her professional debut as part of the MLK Tribute Concerts. Also in 2017, Kalena was a Semi Finalist for Marin Alsop’s prestigious Taki Concordia Fellowship and was awarded 3rd place in the American Prize for the college/university division in 2015.
For the 2015 – 2016 season, Kalena was selected to be a Chicago Sinfonietta Freeman Conducting Fellow. This opportunity allowed her to work closely with Mei-Ann Chen and take part in Maestro Paul Freeman’s vision of fostering and promoting cultural diversity within classical music. Kalena also traveled to Memphis, Tennessee in May of 2016 and assisted Mei-Ann Chen for her final masterworks concert with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, conducting the off-stage brass in Mahler’s First Symphony.
As an advocate of contemporary music, Kalena has premiered several new works by local Connecticut composers. In 2016, she premiered a rock and roll requiem for SATB soloist, Saxophone Quartet and Percussion as well as an orchestral suite for strings, percussion and harp. She has also worked closely with the Foot in The Door contemporary music ensemble at The Hartt School conducting the premiere of two concerti; one for cello and orchestra and one for marimba and orchestra.
Kalena has also served as the cover conductor with the Hartford Symphony on various masterworks concerts. She has assisted Music Director, Carolyn Kuan, and guest conductors Bill Eddins and Gerard Schwartz. Kalena has also been fortunate to work with with renowned conductors Johannes Schlaefli, James Lowe, Donald Portnoy, Maurice Peress, Jorge Mester, Diane Wittry, Peter Jaffe, John Koshak, Kenneth Kiesler and has received coachings from Michael Morgan, Rossen Milanov, Gerard Schwarz and Bill Eddins.
Dedicated to community outreach and education, Kalena has worked with various youth orchestras and ensembles in California and Connecticut, spreading her passion for classical music. She is currently the Orchestra Director and Head Chamber Music Coach at the Loomis Chaffee School in Windsor, CT where she conducts the string orchestra. In 2015, Kalena conducted a fully staged, three act ballet production of the Swan Princess, a story based on Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. In Orange County, California, Kalena served as the Assistant Conductor to the Orange County Youth Symphony Orchestra for two seasons and lead the ensemble in Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaaras’ Cantus Arcticus.
In addition, Kalena was the Assistant Conductor and Strings Coach for the Prelude Youth Orchestras, an organization dedicated to providing an introductory orchestral experience for young children.
In addition to conducting, Kalena is an accomplished violinist. She has performed with various orchestras throughout the Los Angeles, Orange County and New England areas. She performed with the Southeast Symphony at Disney Hall. Kalena is also a published poet and released her first collection of poems titled “Dear Soul…” in 2009.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Kalena is a graduate of Chapman University’s Conservatory of Music where she received a BM degree in Music Education. She received a MM degree and Graduate Professional Diploma in Instrumental Conducting from University of Hartford’s The Hartt School where she was a student of Edward Cumming.