Named “one of Washington’s preeminent jazz singers” and “brightest voices in jazz” (The Washington Post), as well as a “major league young talent in jazz” (Duke Ellington’s biographer, Dr. John Hasse), vocalist and Washington, DC area-native Lena Seikaly is already making her mark in national and international jazz circles as a revivalist of traditional jazz vocals, as well as an innovator in contemporary vocal jazz styles. She was one of eleven semi-finalists for the prestigious 2015 Thelonious Monk Institute International Jazz Vocals Competition in L.A., and is an alum of the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program in DC, the Jazz Aspen Snowmass program directed by Christian McBride, and the Strathmore Artist-in-Residence program in Maryland. As the leader of her own trio, quartet and quintet, Lena has performed to sold-out crowds at national and international venues and festivals including the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Blues Alley, the Elkhart Jazz Festival, Mel Bay Jazz Festival, Chestertown Jazz Festival, DC Jazz Festival, and has appeared as a guest vocalist with Byron Stripling and his Columbus Jazz Orchestra, the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, the U.S. Army Blues, The Capitol Bones Big Band, the Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra, and at West Virginia Public Radio’s Mountain Stage. As an avid educator and workshop instructor, she has taught privately and led regular workshops on jazz vocals at the Strathmore Music Center, and teaches jazz coaching privately in the DC area. Lena has released three albums under her name — “Written in the Stars” (2009), “Lovely Changes” (2011) and “Looking Back” (2013) — and a fourth recording entitled “A Little Closer” is due out in February 2018.
Lena is also a classically-trained mezzo-soprano, having studied at the University of Maryland School of Music (B.M. 2008) under the instruction of François Loup. She was the first-place winner of the National Society of Arts and Letters’ 2008 DC chapter opera competition, and continued to win 5th place at the national level in Bloomington, IN. She performs as a soloist alongside the DC area’s top orchestras and choirs, having been featured in works by Handel, Bach, Mozart, Vivaldi, Durufle, Vaughn Williams, Barber and Bernstein, as well as 20th century and early sacred music. She currently serves as a professional chorister and soloist with the Washington Master Chorale, and as lead vocalist for the weekly jazz service at Washington National Cathedral.