Kellen Gray has earned a reputation as a versatile and imaginative conductor through his enthusiasm for traditional, experimental, and integrative multimedia art programs. Presently, he serves as Assistant Conductor at the Charleston Symphony Orchestra and Music Director of the Charleston Symphony Youth Orchestra.
Prior to his Charleston appointment, Kellen was a Project Inclusion Freeman Conducting Fellow, and later, Assistant Conductor at Chicago Sinfonietta, under Music Director, Mei-Ann Chen, while also fulfilling duties as Associate Conductor of the Columbus Ballet (GA) from 2016-18. Before leaving Chicago, Kellen made his Chicago Symphony Center debut, which Chicago’s Picture This Post, described as, “...laser-like focus that allowed the entire orchestra to seem to become one organism.”
From 2014-16, Kellen was Assistant Conductor at the Valdosta Symphony Orchestra under Music Director - Howard Hsu, Music Director of the Valdosta Symphony Youth Orchestra, and one of eight Conducting Fellows selected to attend Eastern Music Festival, under the tutelage of Gerard Schwarz, Grant Cooper, and Jose-Luis Novo. Of his North Carolina debut at Eastern Music Festival, Peter Perret of the Classical Voice of North Carolina referred to Kellen as an “...gestures so smooth and polished they’re almost choreography...”
At the 2018 League of American Orchestras conference, Kellen was a discussion panelist on the value of leadership pipelines in classical music based on diversity, inclusion, and equity. At a 2017 festival celebrating the 100th birthday of Georgia-born author, Carson McCullers, he was awarded the honor of guest-conducting a collaboration of the music of David Diamond and the premiere of Karen Allen’s debut film, “A Tree, A Rock, A Cloud.”
He earned an undergraduate degree in Violin Performance and an Artists’ Diploma in Orchestral Conducting from the Schwob School of Music at Columbus State University, and Master’s degree in Orchestral Conducting from Valdosta State University.
Kellen’s recent and upcoming conducting endeavors include the Virginia Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Symphony, Charlotte Symphony, Charlotte Ballet, Chicago Sinfonietta, Chicago Philharmonic, Northwest Florida Symphony, and Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra.