Jihye Lee Wins 19th Annual Charlie Parker Jazz Composition Prize

Published: 07.24.2018

Above: Jazz Composers Workshop Associate Musical Director Ted Nash, Charlie Parker Prize and Manny Albam Commission winner Jihye Lee, JCW Musical Director Andy Farber, and BMI's Director of Jazz & Musical Theatre, Patrick Cook, at the annual BMI Jazz Composers Workshop competition and concert

Jazz composer and vocalist Jihye Lee was named the winner of the BMI Foundation’s 19th annual Charlie Parker Jazz Composition Prize and Manny Albam Commission at the 30th annual BMI Jazz Composers Workshop Concert, held on June 14, 2018, at the Marjorie S. Deane Little Theatre in New York City. The award is presented annually for the best original work created in the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop, an internationally renowned forum for big band composition, and honors the memory of jazz icon Charlie Parker. Lee’s piece, Unshakeable Mind, was chosen as the winning work by a distinguished judging panel that included Darcy James Argue, Alan Broadbent and Ed Neumeister.​

Included in the Prize is a $3,000 commission, named in honor of the Workshop’s late founder and longtime musical director Manny Albam, to write a new work for premiere at the following year’s showcase concert. Last year’s Prize winner Remy Le Boeuf premiered his new piece, “Sibbian,” during this year’s event. Lee, who currently resides in New York City, will premiere her commissioned piece at next year’s concert.

Lee released her first orchestra album, April, in February 2017, garnering global praise as a fresh original voice on the jazz composition scene.

Lee’s ensemble, the Jihye Lee Orchestra, has performed at various places throughout NYC, including Symphony Space and Jazz Gallery. Lee has also presented her music in Washington DC, Boston, Los Angeles, Seattle and Korea at notable venues like the Berklee Performance Center, Blue Whale, The Triple Door, Maria Callas Hall and DC Jazz Festival.

Lee graduated from the Manhattan School of Music and Berklee College of Music with numerous awards and scholarships, including winning the prestigious Duke Ellington Award for two consecutive years. She learned from and worked with world-renowned faculty, including Jim McNeely and Greg Hopkins. Lee has also studied privately with multi-Grammy Award recipients Maria Schneider and Terrence Blanchard, and attended workshops with John Clayton and Robin Eubanks.

She continues to create original compositions, while performing, teaching and writing commissions. Besides her orchestral work, Lee is planning to release her original duet album with pianists Yoonseung Cho and Vardan Ovsepian later this year.

About the BMI Foundation

The BMI Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded in 1985 to encourage the creation, performance, and study of American music. The Foundation’s programs include competitive scholarships for songwriters and composers, operating grants for nonprofit arts presenters, and support for innovative music education initiatives in schools and communities across the country. For more information about the work of the Foundation, please visit our website at For exclusive news and content, follow @bmifoundation on Twitter and  Instagram, and like “BMI Foundation” on Facebook at