Dr. Ray Seol
Dr. Ray Seol has been a professional jazz bassist and producer immersed in the New York jazz scene for over two decades. While studying with the legendary bassists Reggie Workman and Buster Williams as an undergraduate at The New School’s School of Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York City, he began a quest to find his voice and develop his own concept of jazz. Seol’s ability to connect sound and color via synesthesia provided the foundation for his new approach to sonic visualization, which he theorized in his master’s thesis in music technology at New York University.
His show titled Interactive Jazz: Jazz as a New Visual Art has been invited to art galleries in New York City and Seoul, South Korea. Seu Aprendiz (2021) is his latest interactive jazz project, which utilizes the interactive jazz concept with the newly introduced linguistic interpretation process. This project was featured in various podcasts and radio shows in the United States. In October 2021, Seu Aprendiz was ranked #1 in the Roots Music Report’s Top 50 World Song Chart and #2 in the North American College & Community Radio Chart.
Dr. Seol has released four studio jazz albums and single tracks since 2007 and has participated in numerous domestic and international tours and jazz festivals. He has performed with many prominent jazz musicians, such as Jason Moran, Marta Gomez, Scott Robinson, Art Hirahara, and Takuya Kuroda. Seol has also participated in the production of the Latin Grammy-nominated album Yeah Won, which was the first Korean album to be nominated in the award’s Música Popular Brasileira category.
Because of his wide range of career experiences across various industries, including the performing arts, computer science, music technology, Hollywood film production and finance, interactive gaming, arts marketing, and academic research, Seol is a firm believer in and beneficiary of interdisciplinary business approaches. He actively maintains strong relationships with influential industry professionals and constantly provides students with high-level career resources and opportunities. In particular, Seol is deeply interested in advocating for the development of sustainable career platforms for artists, especially among immigrant artists. He witnessed the socially constructed bias against immigrant artists in the United States while interviewing record label owners and artists for his second master’s thesis in the arts administration program at Columbia University and his doctoral dissertation work at Northeastern University. As an immigrant to the United States himself, he realized that their struggle reflects and explains his own career situation and that many others are struggling with the same issues. These common struggles have been the central message in Seol’s musical, professional, and academic works. Since 2006, Seol has run a 501(c)(3) nonprofit art organization, One Soul Fellowship, to support artists’ career development processes through various creative initiatives.
Dr. Seol worked for the marketing department at Jazz at Lincoln Center and The Museum of Modern Art. During his tenure at these institutions, Seol was in charge of digital marketing. He also worked at Brown University, where he assisted with graduate student activities and developed and taught student leadership development programs. His student leadership development program called SWITCH Leadership Initiative was selected to be presented at the 2023 National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) conference.