LENA SEIKALY is a fresh voice on the national jazz scene from Washington, D.C. 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” by Duke Ellington’s biographer, Dr. John Hasse, Lena is already making her mark as both a revivalist of traditional jazz vocals, as well as an innovator in contemporary vocal jazz styles. Originally from Falls Church, Virginia, she began her training at age four with piano, continued with classical voice in her teens, and went on to complete a B.M. in classical vocal performance at the University of Maryland School of Music. While attaining regional and national recognition for her classical vocal abilities – including two prestigious prizes from the National Society of Arts and Letters – it was in college where Lena discovered a strong passion for jazz, and embarked on a fervent education of jazz history, styles, theory and composition before pursuing a jazz career in the Washington D.C. area. In 2009, Lena was a participant at the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., where she studied closely with jazz giants Curtis Fuller, George Cables and Dr. Nathan Davis. She was also selected as a Strathmore artist-in-residence for the 2009-2010 season at Bethesda, Maryland’s renowned Strathmore Music Center. As the leader of her own trio, quartet and quintet, Lena has sold out performances at legendary D.C. institutions such as Blues Alley, the Strathmore Mansion, the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, The Hamilton, Twins Jazz and various Smithsonian venues, among many others. As a vocalist with other ensembles, she has performed at the North Sea Jazz Festival (The Netherlands), the Jazz Ascona Festival (Switzerland), the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee (CA), and was a participant at the Jazz Aspen Snowmass program directed by Christian McBride.
Lena has self-produced three albums in the past four years – “Written In The Stars” (2009), “Lovely Changes” (2011) and “Looking Back” (2013) – the latter two of which were released to sold-out shows at Blues Alley. All three received critical acclaim from music critics in leading D.C. online and print publications, garnering full-page, in-depth feature articles in the Washington Post and the Washington City Paper. Dubbed “the work of a supremely confident master of her instrument” (Washington City Paper), “Looking Back” features all music from the 1920s and ‘30s, includes liner notes by Dr.