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Scotland-based American conductor Kellen Gray has earned a reputation as a versatile and imaginative artist, celebrated for his diverse array of traditional and experimental programming, thrilling performances, and provocative multimedia concert experience curation. He is one of the foremost experts and interpreters of the music of African-diasporic composers, for whom he is a passionate advocate and champion.

Born and raised in Rock Hill, South Carolina, Gray’s early professional life took him on a diverse path ranging from orchestral violinist to beekeeper, before turning his full-time attention to conducting. Since the end of 2023, he serves as Associate Artist of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra: a newly created
role that sees him conduct, curate, and present programs right across the RSNO’s series offerings.

Gray credits the many folk music styles of the south-eastern United States as his earliest and most impactful musical influences, and his repertoire interests to date have been fueled by the engaged pursuit
of that same spirit of cultural authenticity. This has led to a particular mastery not only of works that incorporate American folk idioms, but also in-depth explorations of heavily folk-inspired European composers such as Béla Bartók, Manuel de Falla, and Ralph Vaughan Williams, amongst others.


A passionate champion for African-diasporic composers, Gray was the Founder & Curator of Charleston Symphony’s Project Aurora: a programming and performance initiative aiming to illustrate the importance

of African-American arts and culture as equally valuable to its European equivalent. Additionally, he serves as Assistant Editor & Conductor Liaison for the African Diaspora Music Project, after extensive research
at The Center for Black Music Research (CBMR) at Columbia College Chicago.

Gray’s discography to date comprises two celebrated releases – African American Voices and African American Voices II, made with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra – showcasing music by Margaret Bonds, William Dawson, William Grant Still, Coleridge Taylor Perkinson, Florence Price, and George
Walker. Both records have met with the highest critical acclaim, including receiving an elusive 5* review from the prestigious Diapason magazine.


Gray’s appointment as Associate Artist of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra – the first position of its kind for the orchestra – marks an unprecedented but organic development following his highly
successful tenure as the orchestra’s Assistant Conductor (2021-2023). Previous positions in Gray’s formative years as a conductor included successful tenures with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra
(Associate Conductor, 2018-2023), Chicago Sinfonietta (Conducting Fellow & Assistant Conductor, 2016-2018), and Valdosta Symphony Orchestra (Assistant Conductor, 2014-2016).

Recent and forthcoming guest conducting highlights include engagements with such orchestras as the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra (Washington), Oregon Mozart Players, Philharmonia Orchestra (London), Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and the Seattle Opera, amongst others.

Outside of his busy transatlantic performance schedule, Kellen Gray is based in Glasgow, Scotland.

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