Alexandra Knight

Artist Manager
+44 (0) 7515 879 123
alexandra@knightclassical.com

Johan Pieters

Artist Services Manager
johan@knightclassical.com

Knight Classical represents Kellen Gray worldwide.

Kellen Gray

Conductor

Associate Artist, Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Assistant Editor & Conductor Liaison: African Diaspora Music Project

Highlights

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Charlotte Symphony Orchestra
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
Houston Symphony Orchestra
Minnesota Orchestra
NSO Washington
Orchestra of St. Luke’s
Oregon Mozart Players
Philharmonia Orchestra
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Seattle Opera

Video

#CriticsChoice
Kellen Gray introduces the African Diaspora Music Project

Biography

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 programmes right across the RSNO’s series offerings.Read More

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 fuelled 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.

News

Reviews

“Working with Kellen at the RSNO over the past two and a half years has been one of the absolute highlights of my years as CEO. Kellen has lit up the organisation with his musicianship, his thinking and his deep engagement with both musicians and staff. He is a wonderful musician who is the most natural collaborator and communicator. To have a musician of Kellen’s quality who is able to widen our horizons and present fresh repertoire with a unique integrity is a gift to the whole of the classical music community.”
Alistair Mackey

CEO, Royal Scottish National Orchestra

“Under Gray’s sure-footed direction, the RSNO (particularly the brass and the all-important woodwind) bring out all the bluesy flavour of this essentially neo-Romantic music. The infectious third movement, with its clear anticipation of Gershwin’s ‘I Got Rhythm’ (the two composers were close colleagues), has long been a popular concert favourite on its own. Here, it’s the depth of feeling and tone that Gray and his musicians uncover in the other three movements (not least the noble-toned finale) that makes this performance a winner.”
Europadisc

2022

“Gray conducts with finesse and sensitivity”
Diapason (5* review)

“Gray draws forth a performance of subtlety and emotion”
Classical Music Magazine

“The luxuriant RSNO strings were in shapely form under Gray’s direction. Very satisfying listening.”
The Scotsman

“Gray unfolded the smooth, mellifluous contours with patience and understanding”
Voice for Classical Music & Opera

“Gray has earned a reputation as a versatile and imaginative artist through his diverse array of traditional and experimental programming, thrilling performances, and provocative multimedia concert experience creation…”
Broadway World

“From the bright and declarative opening to the sombre yearning of the later movements, Gray transports us to a place of meditation and reflection…”
I Care If You Listen (blog)

Discography

African American Voices II

Royal Scottish National Orchestra

African American Voices

Royal Scottish National Orchestra