McKenna Stenson

McKenna Stenson
  • Associate Director of Choral Studies
  • Choral Conducting

Contact Info

214A Murphy Hall
1530 Naismith Drive
Lawrence, KS 66045-3103


As an innovative conductor, teacher, and vocalist, McKenna Stenson has built a career inspiring students to sing with confidence and motivating communities to create lasting change through song. Her energetic demeanor permeates positivity throughout the ensemble, creating a community of compassion, trust, and resilience.

Stenson currently serves on the faculty at the University of Kansas (KU) as the Associate Director of Choral Activities/Professor of Practice starting in the fall of 2022 where she will conduct KU Glee (Tenor-Bass Choir) and The Oread Singers. In addition to leading ensembles, Stenson teaches classes in choral methods, undergraduate conducting, and voice.

Prior to her appointment at KU, Stenson was a DMA student in Choral Conducting at the University of North Texas (UNT) where she studied under Dr. Allen Hightower, Dr. Kristina MacMullen, and Dr. Jessica Nápoles. She directed the UNT Camerata and assisted Dr. Kristina MacMullen with the UNT University Singers. Additional teaching appointments at UNT included Music Fundamentals and serving as a teaching associate for Undergraduate Conducting and Vox Aquilae, the university's flagship early music ensemble.

Stenson enjoys serving as a guest conductor, clinician, presenter, and adjudicator for choirs throughout the United States and abroad. Upcoming engagements include teaching internationally with The Cornish-American Song Institute “Music Across the Pond”, where she will lead seminars in choral conducting and choral masterclasses, and directing the Kansas Treble All-State Honor Choir in 2023.  She has served in state leadership roles as well as presented sessions at state and regional conferences. Stenson was nationally recognized as a Country Music Award Foundation Music Teacher of Excellence for 2020. Most recently she was named third-place winner of the 2021 American Prize Conducting Competition and a finalist for the 2022 South-Western American Choral Association Graduate Conducting Masterclass. 

Stenson earned a Bachelor’s of Music in Vocal Performance and Bachelor’s of Music in Music Education from The Ohio State University and a Master of Music from Michigan State University. Stenson enjoyed serving as a public school teacher as the Choral Director and CFPA Vocal Director at Charles J. Colgan High School. Stenson, who was named “New Faculty Member of the Year” in 2017, directed five choirs during the day and three after-school ensembles at Colgan High School. Under the direction of Stenson, the Colgan Choral Ensembles were invited to perform at venues such as the Kennedy Center Millenium Stage and served as arts ambassadors throughout the Virginia Commonwealth. In 2018, the Colgan High School Chamber Ensemble was selected to perform at the Virginia Music Educators Association conference and received a standing ovation for their performance. In her free time, she enjoys running, singing with her husband Bryan, and interviewing female conductors on her new podcast conduct(her).