"...one of the local jazz scene’s most promising performers" and "brightest voices in jazz"

​– The Washington Post


A fixture on the D.C. jazz scene for over 15 years, vocalist and 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 in DC, the 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, Alan Baylock Jazz Orchestra 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. Her music is played regularly on DC’s jazz station WPFW 89.3, and “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, served as the jazz vocal instructor at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts during 2008-09, and currently teaches privately in Washington, DC. 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 is very active in the DC area as a professional classical mezzo-soprano, and regularly performs as a soloist alongside the city'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. In April 2023, she was the mezzo-soprano soloist for the world premier of "The Unknown Sea" by David Conte, a commissioned work featuring the Washington Master Chorale and Orchestra. As an arranger, Lena had the unique privilege of being commissioned to arrange a suite of Antonio Carlos Jobim’s music for a 16-piece version of the New Orchestra of Washington, which premiered in 2012.

A proud Palestinian American, Lena has also been involved in many Arabic fusion projects both in the U.S. and abroad — in summer of 2015, she toured in Palestine (West Bank) and Israel as the featured vocalist with Al-Manara, a European-Palestinian ensemble performing original music based on the life of its Palestinian composer and founder, Ramzi Aburedwan.​