Lena Hovanesian is a saxophonist and composer living in New York City. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Lena’s fascination with music first began as a child, when she was exposed to the sounds of different instruments in her home. Between her mother’s piano and father’s drums, she discovered a unique blend of music, from Mozart, Bach, and Beethoven, to funk and jazz-fusion of the 1970’s. After hearing jazz played on the local radio station during car rides to elementary school, she quickly became entranced by the sound of the saxophone and picked up the instrument at the age of ten. At the end of her senior year in high school, Lena was awarded the Louis Armstrong Jazz Award, a prestigious award given out to one recipient per school district nationwide. She continued her jazz studies at the University of California, Irvine and graduated in 2012 with a Bachelor's Degree in Jazz Performance. While at UC Irvine, Lena performed and composed for esteemed dance choreographer Sheron Wray in the university’s dance production known as Dance Visions and received instruction from Kei Akagi, Michael Dessen, and Kojiro Umezaki.
In 2013, Lena moved to New York and completed her Master's Degree in Jazz Performance at NYU in January 2015. Lena has studied with Kenny Werner, Ralph Alessi, Mark Turner, Ben Wendel, and Ari Hoenig and has participated in ensembles and master classes led by Jean-Michel Pilc and Kenny Werner. In April 2014, Lena was selected to tour with her group in Costa Rica as part of the Promising Artists of the 21st Century Program where she also conducted master classes throughout the country. Lena recently released her debut album, irwinorange, in July 2015 featuring Ralph Alessi, Kenny Werner, Manuel Schmiedel, Chris Lightcap, and Gerald Cleaver and collaborated with Ameringer McEnery Yohe artist, Franklin Evans. She has received critical acclaim for her album in AllAboutJazz and from performing and visual artists including Ravi Coltrane and Brian Alfred.