Photo by Hyemi Kim


Jihye Lee is a Brooklyn-based composer, arranger, and conductor. Possessing a highly personal, idiosyncratic touch and knack for musical storytelling, she’s made waves in the New York scene and beyond.

Lee’s innate musical talent is a testament to her unique composing journey that led her to be exceptionally original and her ability to immerse herself in her artistry. Not afraid of vulnerability, Lee's compositions stem from a deeply personal place. Daring Mind (2021), her latest release, reflects Lee’s struggles and triumphs living in New York City as an artist. The New York Times remarked that "[she] has her own style” and Le Monde noted that “[her] music is a miracle of luxuriance and freshness." April (2017), her first album, was a response to the South Korean Sewol Ferry Disaster in 2014. All About Jazz called that album “thought-provoking and gut-wrenching all at once.” 

Within the specificity of her work lies her genius: her understanding that sharing our unique stories brings us to a place of deeper connections with ourselves and each other. Lee's innovative approach to composing was hailed as "imaginative and creative" by her longtime mentor Jim McNeely, whom she studied under while earning her Master’s at the Manhattan School of Music. Her upcoming work, Infinite Connections (2024), is a statement to her growth as an artist through tracks inspired by traditional Korean sounds and philosophies. Undeterred by the challenges of melding Western music with indigenous Korean folk rhythms, Lee explores what it means to confront grief, the cycle of nature, ancestral ties, and womanhood.

Her contributions to jazz have acquired her numerous commissions, honors, awards, and residencies, including the NYU/CBA National Sawdust Toulmin Fellowship, BMI Foundation's Charlie Parker Jazz Composition Prize, the ASCAP Foundation/Symphonic Jazz Orchestra Commissioning Prize, the Korean Music Awards Best Jazz Album, and the 10 best jazz albums of 2021 from The Guardian. Her work has also graced prestigious stages like Jazz at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall's NYO Jazz, and the National Theatre of Korea, solidifying her as a remarkable force and trailblazer in the world of contemporary jazz.