korea culture dc

  • facebook
  • twitter
  • youtoube
  • Instargam

EXPLOREPerforming Arts

DC Jazz Festival presents The Jihye Lee Orchestra: Jazz Meets Korea  image

DC Jazz Festival presents The Jihye Lee Orchestra: Jazz Meets Korea

The DC Jazz Festival, one of America's premier summer music events, welcomes a celebrated Korean group, the Jihye Lee Orchestra, to kick off the festival’s final day of performances at DC’s newly renovated Wharf (District Pier) on Sunday June 17 at 12 p.m. The group’s namesake, Korean jazz composer and vocalist Jihye Lee, will also perform with the smaller Jihye Lee Ensemble in a more intimate setting at Baltimore’s An Die Musik Live on Friday, June 15 at 7:30 p.m., a joint performance with the local Blake Meister Quartet.


The Korean Cultural Center Washington, D.C. has collaborated with the DC Jazz Festival to introduce Korean jazz musicians in the Capital region since 2016 under the event heading, Jazz Meets Korea. This year’s program features a larger group than ever before, with 14 artists comprising the Jihye Lee Orchestra in the increasingly rare large jazz ensemble format. Jihye Lee, currently performing out of New York, will perform alongside famed saxophonist Ted Nash, celebrated trumpeter Sean Jones, and four Korean musicians, among others. The 50-minute program on June 17 combines jazz and modern classical music with the rhythm and energy of a variety of musical instruments.


Jihye Lee’s unique music style comfortably straddles jazz and modern classical music with lush harmonies and cleverly woven rhythmic sense. As a female composer and vocalist, she uses her voice elegantly and delicately, telling stories through her music. The program starts with the twisted blues of Why Is That, followed by the mysterious Beauty In The Night, the energeticWhirlwind, beautiful melodic vocals of Do You Love Me, radical style of I Dare You named for Wayne Shorter’s answer to the question, “what is jazz?” and closing out with a special arrangement of the soulful Korean folk song Arirang.


The Baltimore program, a DC Jazz Festival Fishman Embassy Series event under the headingJazz Brings Us Together, will present the Jihye Lee Ensemble in another groundbreaking joint performance alongside the local Blake Meister Quartet, led by bassist Blake Meister. After each group performs, the two will take the stage together to blend their unique styles of jazz to celebrate harmony among Baltimore’s diverse regional communities through cultural exchange and a shared love of jazz music. To RSVP for the Baltimore program, click HERE.


The DC Jazz Festival is Washington, D.C.'s largest music festival, and a premier destination for international jazz music. The festival runs June 8 - 17, featuring more than 300 artists at 40 venues across the city. For the full lineup of performances and admission policies for each day, visit the DCJF website at www.dcjazzfest.org.



Sunday, June 17 at 12:00 PM

The Wharf (District Pier, Washington, DC 20024)

Free, no RSVP required. Festival details HERE

Friday, June 15 at 7:30 PM

An Die Musik Live (409 N Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21201)

Free, RSVP (required) & details HERE

About the Artists


Jihye Lee, New York-based Korean jazz vocalist and composer, leads the Jihye Lee Orchestra, among other creative projects. She released her first orchestra album, April, in 2017, garnering global praise as a fresh original voice on the jazz composition scene. Lee graduated from the Manhattan School of Music and Berklee College of Music (with prestigious Duke Ellington Award for two consecutive years), learning from and working with world-renowned faculty, including Jim McNeely and Greg Hopkins. Lee plans to release her original duet album with pianists Yoonseung Cho and Vardan Ovsepian in the near future. The Jihye Lee Orchestra has performed at various venues in New York City, including Symphony Space and Jazz Gallery. Lee has presented her music in Boston, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Korea, including at the Berklee Performance Center, Blue Whale, The Triple Door, and Maria Callas Hall.

Sean Jones

Music and spirituality have always been fully intertwined in the artistic vision of trumpeter, composer, educator and activist Sean Jones. Sean is current Artist-in-Residence at San Francisco Performances and is a member of The SF JAZZ Collective. Clearly a passionately committed, heavily focused and deeply spiritual man, Sean relies upon his serious study of philosophy – especially that of 13th century theologian and mystic Meister Eckhardt; and Don Miguel Ruiz, whose vision is drawn from the ancient wisdom of the Toltec native people of Southern Mexico – to fuel the pursuit of his expansive and generous vision. Sean currently lives in Boston with his wife Stacey. For more information, visit www.sean-jones.com

Ted Nash

Born in Los Angeles into a musical family (his father, Dick Nash, and uncle, the late Ted Nash, were both well-known jazz and studio musicians), Nash has that uncanny ability to mix freedom with substance, blues with intellect, and risk-taking with clarity. He is a co-founder of the New York-based Jazz Composers Collective, a musician-run, non-profit innovative entity dedicated to presenting the original works of composers pushing the boundaries of their self-expression. Nash is also a long-standing member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, with Wynton Marsalis. Nash has become one of the most significant jazz composers of the 21st century. His recordings have received wide critical acclaim, appearing on the “best-of” lists in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Village Voice, and The Boston Globe. 

Jihee Heo, born and raised in Seoul, Korea, is a New York-based jazz pianist and composer. After moving to New York City in 2011, Jihee obtained her Master's Degree in Jazz Piano Performance from the Manhattan School of Music in 2013, while studying under Garry Dial, Phil Markowitz, Cecil Bridgewater and Dave Liebman. Jihee recently released her Nonet album Passion, which allowed her to fully explore her love of music composition as well as performance. 


Sungwon Kim has played guitar in the pit orchestra for the hit Broadway musicals Wicked and One Thousand Nights and One Day. Kim has collaborated with John Scofield (Miles Davis), Valerie Simpson (Marvin Gaye), and Mark Walker (Michael Brecker), among others. He graduated from Berklee College of Music (Magna Cum Laude, recipient of numerous awards and a full scholarship), the Musicians Institute, Los Angeles Music Academy (recipient of a scholarship), and NYU Steinhardt.


Sang Ouk Jung is a New York-based bass player. He started studying music at Kyung-Hee University in Korea as a post-modern music major. He moved to Boston, Ma. And began studying at the Berklee College of Music for his BM degree with Dave Santoro, John Lockwood, and others. He was selected to record albums as a sideman for Heechan Cha’s Souvenirs de L’hiver (2017), Haneul Park’s Reminiscence (2016), Leon Cotter’s Playing the Pool (2013), Jazz Revelation Records’ Ripple Effect (2012), and Saucy Lady’s Diversify (2011). His debut album as a leader will be released in 2018.

Jongkuk Kim is a drummer who studied at Berklee College of Music, where he was awarded a full scholarship. He has worked with jazz greats such as Dave Santoro, Hal Crook, George Garzone, Darren Barrett, John Clayton, Robin Eubanks, Maria Schneider, Rudresh Mahanthappa,and Terence Blanchard, and has played in festivals and venues including Monterey, Blue Note Jazz Club, and the Toronto Jazz Festival, to name a few.

Purem Jin

Pureum Jin is a South Korean alto saxophone player and jazz composer, currently based in Charlottesville, Virginia. She started playing classical music through saxophone in middle school, but quickly moved on to playing jazz when she was introduced about John Coltrane by her teacher After being deeply inspired about jazz music. Before relocating to Charlottesville 2017 summer, she finished her Master’s degree at the highly-acclaimed Manhattan School of Music in New York through scholarship in May 2017, guided and mentored by legendary jazz musicians such as Dave Liebman, Justin Dicioccio, Jim McNeely, Donny McCaslin, Gary Smulyan, Vincent Herring, Steve Wilson, Garry Dial, Phil Markowitz, Jeremy Manasia, Chris Rosenberg, Mark Soskin Bobby Sanabria. She also has a bachelor of music degree from Kyunghee University, Korea, when she graduated in 2009. Prior to starting her Master’s degree, she has been active in both Korea and international jazz scenes, playing in international jazz festivals.

Nick Finzer

one of the most dynamic musicians of the millennial generation. An award-winning composer, arranger, producer, and trombonist, Finzer is bringing the joy and power of Jazz to both traditional fans and the most modern 21st century audiences. He’s on a mission to be a passionate voice defining the sound of Jazz in this age while also bringing street cred to the trombone with a bold, tight sound.  Listeners will enjoy the wide emotional range of Finzer’s brilliant original compositions and arrangements on his latest album, No Arrival (Posi-Tone 2018). His supporting musical cast for this album includes reed- man extraordinaire Lucas Pino, guitarist Alex Wintz, pianist Victor Gould, bassist Dave Baron and drummer Jimmy Macbride. The album finds Finzer taking things forward while simultaneously being drawing back to the music that got him to this point in time, with a mix of influences and a unified concept. Born into the musical world (Mom Sherry Finzer is an international flutist), Finzer developed a fascination for the music of Duke Ellington and found himself, in high school, performing at the annual Essentially Ellington competition of Jazz at Lincoln Center. 

Jeremy Powell

Over the span of my musical career I've had the pleasure of playing, recording, and teaching in Japan, South America, the Caribbean, and throughout Europe along side such varied artists as Eddie Palmeiri, Arturo O'Farrill, Kenny Drew Jr., Miguel Zenon, Gabriel Grossi, choral conductor James Jordan, and the Westminster Choir among others. Before I finished high school I was awarded both the Louis Armstrong and Woody Herman excellence in jazz awards in addition to numerous musical scholarships that enabled me to further my musical studies at the New School University in Manhattan. At the New School I had the great pleasure of studying with such world renowned musicians as Seamus Blake, Chris Cheek, Miguel Zenon, George Garzone, Reggie Workman, Jaime Haadad, and Armen Donelean. During my time at the New School I was awarded the John Coltrane scholarship and was a featured performer in the John Coltrane Jazz Festival. In 2010 I was named 'Best Saxophonist' by Creative Loafing and in 2011 I was awarded the Y2K fellowship which enabled me to complete a Master's Degree in Jazz Composition from the University of South Florida where I was able to study with Guggenheim Fellowship recipient Chuck Owen. I am presently based out of Brooklyn, NYC where I have been playing and recording with such artists as Eddie Palmieri, Arturo O'Farrill, and Pedro Giraudo among others. 

Carl Maraghi

Baritone saxophonist Carl Maraghi moved to New York City from his native Montreal, Canada. He received his Artist Diploma from the prestigious Juilliard School where he studied and performed with many great jazz artists such as Joe Temperley, Victor Goines, Joe Lovano, Benny Golson, Wycliffe Gordon and Wynton Marsalis. In New York City, he played in concerts with Mr. Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. He performs and tours with the Lionel Hampton Celebration Band that includes Nicholas Payton, Curtis Fuller, Jason Marsalis, Lew Solof and singer Diane Schuur.Carl is also involved with Argentine bassist and composer Pedro Giraudo’s orchestra with recordings, concerts in the New York area and tour in Macau, China. Carl is part of the acclaimed David Berger Jazz Orchestra, touring and recording regularly in the U.S. and Europe. This ensemble performed every Tuesday night at the famous New York jazz club “Birdland” for three years, and recorded music for actor/director Denzel Washington’s movie “The Great Debaters”. The orchestra was part of two Mark Twain Prize PBS Specials honoring comedy legends Billy Crystal and Bill Cosby recorded at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. Carl participated in the Henry Mancini Institute program in Los Angeles where he performed with saxophone great Chris Potter, and trumpet icon Doc Severinsen (bandleader in The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson for 30 years). After their meeting in California, Mr. Severinsen employed Carl in his own big band that included Ed Shaunnessy, John Bambridge and Snooky Young. He completed his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Music Performance at Concordia University in Montreal before his studies at The Juilliard School in New York. Along with performing professionally in different jazz ensembles in the Montreal jazz scene and at the world-renowned Montreal International Jazz Festival, he appeared regularly as a musician on several radio and television shows. 

Matt Holman 

Hailed by the New York Times as a “conscientious” and “perceptive young trumpeter,” and by the great Fred Hersch as “a creative and thoughtful improviser with a world-class sound,” trumpeter Matt Holman has distinguished himself as a composer, conductor, bandleader and top-tier soloist in many of the leading jazz ensembles of our time. Along with his adventurous chamber-jazz recordings, Holman has performed and/or recorded with Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society, the John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble, Fred Hersch’s Leaves of Grass, Bang on a Can’s Asphalt Orchestra, the Joel Harrison Large Ensemble, the JC Sanford Orchestra, New York Voices, Kenneth Salters Haven, the Anna Webber Quartet, Matt Ulery’s Loom, Andrew Rathbun and more. Holman has also composed and arranged works for Stefon Harris, Jane Monheit, Marvin Stamm and university ensembles worldwide. Holman’s 2013 debut When Flooded (Brooklyn Jazz Underground Records), an ambitious and evocative project with his five-piece Diversion Ensemble, was awarded four stars by Down Beat. 

Nick Grinder 

Hailing from San Francisco, California, Nick Grinder has been a freelance low brass musician in New York City since 2011. He has performed with artists such as Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society, Arturo O’farrell’s Latin Jazz Orchestra, Ralph Alessi, Ulysses Owens Jr, and many others. He is active in both the commercial and jazz worlds, having appeared in the pits of over a dozen Broadway shows, as well as having performed and recorded with artists such as Lorde, DMX, and St Vincent.  Nick released his first album of all original music “10 Minutes” in 2014, and his second album is slated for release in the winter of 2018. 

John Lake

John Lake is a trumpet player and composer living in Brooklyn, New York.  Originally from the small Midwestern town of Celina, Ohio, John has quickly developed a busy performance schedule as a jazz soloist and an in-demand lead trumpet player in the greater New York City area. Recent large-ensemble performances include the Ben Markley Big Band, the Fat Cat Big Band, the David Berger Jazz Orchestra, Charlie Rosen’s Broadway Big Band, Michael Feinstein & Tedd Firth at Jazz At Lincoln Center, Brian Krock’s Big Heart Machine, the Jihye Lee Big Band, the Glenn Crytzer Orchestra, the Steven Feifke Big Band, the Terazza 7 Big Band, as well as John's own collaborative big band, the New Alchemy Jazz Orchestra, which currently enjoys a monthly residency at The Django in Manhattan.


The Blake Meister Quartet is led by bassist Blake Meister who has performed and recorded with a diversity of renowned musicians, including Marc Copland, David Kikoski, Gary Bartz, Steve Davis, and Warren Wolf. For more information on these individual artists, please visit the Jazz Brings Us Together event page HERE