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A Korea-.U.S. Jazz Dialogue Joint Concert

The Korean Cultural Center Washington, D.C. and the Duke Ellington School of the Arts are proud to present A Korea-.U.S. Jazz Dialogue, featuring two celebrated jazz ensembles for a joint performance and international collaboration. The Shin Hyun Pill Jazz Band, one of Korea’s most accomplished jazz groups led by cultural ambassador Shin Hyun Pill, will perform with the New Washingtonians Jazz Ensemble, composed of top Duke Ellington students led by esteemed educator Davey Yarborough, presenting traditional American and contemporary Korean jazz. 


Commemorating the holiday season and 40 years since the passing of jazz legend Duke Ellington, this joint performance is the school’s first embassy collaboration and its first with jazz counterparts from Korea, where the quintessentially American music genre has gained a robust following and even ridden the Korean Wave of popular culture through musicians’ collaborations with Korean pop artists. This program aims to further diversify K-Pop to include other popular forms of pop culture, including jazz.


WHATA Korea-.U.S. Jazz Dialogue

WHENThursday, December 11, 2014, 7:30-9:00 p.m.

WHEREThe Arlene and Robert Kogod Cradle at Arena Stage  (1106 6th St. SW, Washington, D.C.)


RSVP UPDATE: Thank you for your interest! Due to an overwhelming response, this event is now full and RSVPs are no longer being accepted. Thank you for your understanding. To join our upcoming events mailing list, please click here.



The Shin Hyun Pill Jazz Band is composed of five professional jazz musicians who bring together a unique set of global experiences to produce a contemporary style with soul and rock influences. Band leader Shin Hyun Pill (saxophone) was a cultural ambassador for Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, collaborating in Kenya with the Kijani Kibichi Band during Africa Sings Korean Soul, a performance tour designed to introduce Korean pop and traditional music in 2013. Shin was awarded the top prize as a soloist at the 2011 Jarasum International Jazz Festival in Korea. He is a graduate of Sangmyung University (composition), the Seoul Institute of the Arts (applied music), and the Berklee College of Music (performance, jazz composition). Shin has taken part in numerous major performances including at Muse Hall Seoul Olympic Park, as a special guest of the SBS Power of FM Kim Chang Wan Sanullim Band, collaborating with Wind City, on M-Net’s Voice Korea, the Kim Bum Su U.S. Tour, KBS Open Concert, 2011 Seoul Jazz International Festival, and others. Chon Yongjun (piano) is a graduate of the Seoul Institute of the Arts (composition) and has been awarded at the 1st Mac Jazz Concours and the 1st Hanyang University Jazz Concours. He has performed at the Taiwan International Jazz Festival, SBS Bolshoi Ice Show Live Session, 8th Iksan Jazz Festival, and Seoul Open Week. He was recognized as a 2014 Rising Star by Jazzpeople Magazine in Korea. Jo Sinil (guitar) studied at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, Netherlands and has performed with the International Dutch Quartet, the Lennart Heyndels Quinetet, and the Sinil Jo Quartet. Shin Dongha (bass) has performed as part of Jazz Pianist Jo Yoon Sung Latin Korea, at the Lucid Paul & Jo Yoon Sung semi-symphonic orchestra LG Art Center, in broadcast at the KBS Yoo Hee Yeol’s Sketchbook Band, and at the Jisan World Rock Festival, among others. Kim Soojun (drums) has been featuring with the Hip-hop duo LeeSsang, performed at the 2011 Mottreus Jazz Festival, and at the 2012 Seoul International Jazz Festival. 


The New Washingtonians Jazz Ensemble was established in 1989 by Davey Yarborough, consisting of top Duke Ellington School of the Arts students. Every two years the ensemble has an international tour, with past performances in France, Croatia, Barbados, Bahamas, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. Featuring Krya Whitaker (saxophone), Geraldo Marshall (trumpet), Reilly Martin (guitar),Johannes Utas (trombone), Wally Davies (bass), Ayanna Rogers (bass), Kweku Sumbry (drums), and Reuben Davis (piano).


Davey Yarborough, saxophonist and director of the ensemble, is also director of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts jazz department. He has been recognized by PBS as a Notable Black Washingtonian and has worked with artists such as Roland Hanna, Keter Betts, Billy Eckstine, Joe Williams, and Wynton Marsalis. In 1998, he established The Washington Jazz Arts Institute. From 1998 to 1991, Davey’s sax was part of the memorable background music for The Cosby Show. As an educator, he was the recipient of the John Laporta Jazz Educator of the Year award from the Berklee College of Music and The Jazz Education Network. 


The Duke Ellington School of the Arts was established in 1974 and is the only Washington, D.C. public school to offer specialized training in the arts, including one-on-one private lessons for students and other special programs through the Ellington Fund, the school’s charitable arm. The school was ranked as a top high school and third ranking within the District of Columbia. The school has graduated many famous performers and entertainers including Dave Chappelle and Denyce Graves.


About Duke Ellington and Jazz in Korea


Duke Ellington (1899 – 1974) remains a towering, influential figure in jazz, American music, and now world music broadly. He is widely considered as one of the twentieth century's most prominent African American personalities. As a composer and a band leader over several decades, Ellington's reputation has grown since his passing, with innovations on his signature music often becoming best-sellers. He gained widespread popularity first in the 1920s, leading the house band at the Cotton Club in New York City. He went on to become the recipient of 13 Grammy Awards, the President’s Gold Medal in 1966, the Medal of Freedom in 1969, the Pulitzer Prize (posthumous), and the French Legion of Honor in 1973.


Jazz first came to Korea in the 1950s, when U.S. armed forces remained in Korea following the Korean War (1950-53). While it remained on the sidelines of Korean society for decades, the number of jazz devotees in Korea steadily grew as the genre became more mainstream. Since the 1990s, with the energetic rise of Korea popular culture abroad and a growing thirst for international culture in Korea, jazz has found fertile ground and now boasts a thriving community of musicians, educators, and fans. Several major jazz festivals are held in Korea today, including the Jarasum Jazz Festival and Seoul Jazz Festival, drawing thousands of visitors. Keeping with the Korean tradition of innovation in the arts, Jazz musicians in Korea have built an appreciation for traditional American jazz while also adding a uniquely Korean touch to contemporary works. Most recently, acclaimed Korean jazz vocalist Youn Sun Nah performed in Washington, D.C. on September 14, 2014 at the historic Howard Theatre.