Memphis Youth Symphony Program: A Standing Ovation for the Season Finale - MYSP Side By Side 2023
Non Profits | May 20, 2023
by: The #FunCrew of JustMy!
The annual Side-by-Side Concert from MYSP

Over the weekend of May 13 and 14, the Cannon Center in Memphis, Tennessee resonated with the triumphant sounds of the Memphis Youth Symphony Program's (MYSP) Season Finale. Local youths, some appearing to be no older than ten, delivered a performance that left attendees in awe of their remarkable talent and dedication. The #FunCrew of JustMyMemphis was present to document the event and capture the behind-the-scenes magic of this transformative program.

Maestro at the Helm: Kalena Bovell

A spotlight shone brightly on the dynamic and inspirational conductor, Kalena Bovell. A Panamanian-American talent, Bovell has created a name for herself as an influential figure in the world of classical music, earning the accolade of "one of the brightest stars in classical music" from Connecticut's Channel 3 News. As a recent awardee of the 2022-2024 Taki Alsop Conducting Fellowship, Bovell's commitment to musical excellence and community engagement is clearly evident.

In addition to her work with the Rochester Philharmonic, Oakland Symphony, and Louisville Orchestra, Bovell's collaboration with Hamilton star Leslie Odom Jr with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra stands out as a noteworthy performance. Her creative talent extends beyond the orchestral stage, too, with her poem, "Tethered Voices," being set to music and performed by the University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra in 2022.

Despite her impending departure, Bovell leaves a profound legacy at the MYSP. She has nurtured young musicians, fostering their growth as players, leaders, and rounded individuals. As she steps into her future, she does so with the admiration and support of those at the MYSP.

Celebrating Support and Dedication

The MYSP extends its heartfelt gratitude to its supporters, whose generous contributions have ensured the program's enduring success. Special recognition was given to Conductor Emeritus, Pak-Chung Cheng, and Karla Philipp, Conductor Emeritus of the String Ensemble & String Sinfonia. The program also acknowledged the legacy gifts of Jean C. Mosow and Billy Jack Christian.

Our conductors and staff, including Dr. Selim Giray, Chelsea Subick, Kristi Harrington, Kevin Carpenter, Thomas Richardson, and the Executive Director, Brittany Cooper-d’Orsay, have all played pivotal roles in shaping MYSP.

The Mission: Symphony ReDEFINED

Established in 1966 by Maestro Vincent de Frank, MYSP stands as a testament to the power of music in fostering youth development within a fun, inclusive, and collaborative community. Despite becoming a distinct non-profit organization separate from the Memphis Symphony Orchestra in 2006, MYSP has continued its mission of providing classical music education to talented young musicians in the Mid-South.

Currently, the program serves approximately 200 children annually, ages 7-19 years, from the tri-state area. All students, regardless of their schooling background, are invited to audition, ensuring a diverse blend of participants reflecting the community's culture and complexion.

As the curtains close on another successful season, the Memphis Youth Symphony Program looks ahead to the future, fortified by its commitment to nurturing the next generation of musical talent. The season finale may have ended, but the echoes of the extraordinary performances will resonate for a long time to come.


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