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), jazz 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., is an alum of the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program under the direction of the late Dr. Billy Taylor, Jazz Aspen Snowmass program directed by Christian McBride, and the Strathmore Artist-in- Residence program in Maryland. Both as a bandleader and featured artist, Lena has headlined at Jazz at Lincoln Center Shanghai (China), the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Strathmore Music Center, Blues Alley, the Hamilton, West Virginia Public Radio’s Mountain Stage, Sidney Harman Hall, various Smithsonian venues and DC’s famed Westminster Church, as well as the Elkhart Jazz Festival (Elkhart, IN), Mel Bay Jazz Festival (St. Louis, MO), Chestertown Jazz Festival (Chestertown, MD), DC Jazz Festival (Washington, DC), and Center City Jazz Festival (Philadelphia, PA). She has performed alongside Byron Stripling, Christian McBride, Sean Jones, Cyrus Chestnut, Norman Simmons, Walter Blanding, Michael Feinstein, Duduka da Fonseca, and various big bands including the USAF Airmen of Note, U.S. Army Blues, Columbus Jazz Orchestra, Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, Capitol Bones Big Band, and the Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra.
Lena has released four albums under her name between 2009 and 2018, all of which were released at Blues Alley and played regularly on DC’s jazz station WPFW 89.3. “A Little Closer” was featured on Washington DC’s NPR station, WAMU 88.5 shortly after its release.
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 privately in Maryland. Lena is also a classically-trained operatic mezzo-soprano, having studied at the University of Maryland School of Music 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 fifth place at the national competition 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.