Kellen Gray has earned a reputation as a versatile and imaginative conductor through his diverse array of traditional and multimedia integrative programming. Presently, he serves as Assistant Conductor of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Associate Conductor of the Charleston Symphony.
Prior to his current appointments, Kellen Gray served separate tenures as Assistant Conductor of Chicago Sinfonietta and the Valdosta Symphony Orchestra.
Chicago’s Picture This Post described Gray’s conducting as having ‘a laser-like focus that allows the entire orchestra to become one’. Of his North Carolina debut, CVNC said, ‘... gestures so smooth and polished they’re almost choreography ...’
Gray is a native of Rock Hill, South Carolina. He credits the many folk music styles of the southeastern United States as his earliest and most impactful influence on his music-making and specializes in presenting the works that utilize those idioms.
Gray’s conducting endeavours include the Philharmonia Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, English National Opera, Chineke! Orchestra, Orchestra of St Luke’s, Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, Hilton Head and enduring body of orchestral music and provided models for how the spirituals, blues, jazz and other Black idioms – historical and contemporary – could be used in Classical music compositions. In keeping with various artistic and cultural move- ments, they showed how African American music could both surmount racial divides and convey Black history and culture to audiences worldwide.
African American Voices testifies to the inestimable richness of the music composed by William Levi Dawson (1899-1990), George Walker (1922-2018), and William Grant Still (1895-1978). The Royal Scottish National Orchestra and its Assistant Conductor Kellen Gray bring three of their works vividly to life in performances recorded in 2022 at Scotland's Studio in Glasgow. The hour-long release is effectively structured, framing as it does Walker's eloquent Lyric for Strings (1946; revised 1990) with two symphonies of markedly different character.