Ray Seol

Position
Assistant Professor
Affiliated Departments
Expertise
jazz music
Telephone
617-747-6392

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Dr. Ray Seol is an assistant professor of professional music and a distinguished jazz bassist and producer with extensive involvement in the New York jazz scene. During his undergraduate years at the New School’s School of Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York City, he studied under renowned bassists Reggie Workman and Buster Williams. This period marked the inception of his journey to define his musical identity and formulate his unique concept of jazz.

Dr. Seol’s capacity to synthesize sound and color through synesthesia laid the groundwork for his innovative approach to sonic visualization, a theory he explored in his master’s thesis in music technology at New York University. Over time, he solidified this concept as a novel means of improvising and visually interpreting jazz, incorporating interactive technologies. His showcase titled Interactive Jazz: Jazz as a New Visual Art has garnered invitations to art galleries in both New York City and Seoul, South Korea. His recent interactive jazz creation, "Seu Aprendiz" (2021), which incorporates the interactive jazz concept along with a freshly introduced linguistic interpretation process, achieved the remarkable feat of ranking no. 1 on the Roots Music Report’s Top 50 World Song Chart and no. 2 on the North American College and Community Radio Chart.

Dr. Seol harbors a deep commitment to advocating for sustainable career platforms, particularly for immigrant artists. He gleaned insights into the prevailing societal biases against immigrant artists while conducting interviews for his second master’s thesis in the arts administration program at Columbia University and his doctoral dissertation work at Northeastern University.

Since 2007, Dr. Seol has released four studio jazz albums and individual tracks, further participating in numerous domestic and international tours and jazz festivals. He has collaborated with distinguished jazz luminaries like Jason Moran, Marta Gómez, Scott Robinson, Art Hirahara, and Takuya Kuroda. Additionally, he contributed to the production of the Latin Grammy–nominated album Yeah Won, marking the first-ever nomination for a Korean album in the Música Popular Brasileira category.

Career Highlights
  • Freelance jazz bassist, composer, and producer
  • Founder of Interactive Jazz: Jazz as a New Visual Art, a sonic visualization project
  • Interactive jazz project Seu Aprendiz was ranked No. 1 on the Roots Music Report’s Top 50 World Song Chart and No. 2 on the North American College and Community Radio Chart (2021)
  • Performances with prominent jazz musicians including Marta Gomez, Art Hirahara, Takuya Kuroda, Jason Moran, and Scott Robinson
  • Professional experiences in the entertainment and music technology industries
  • Leadership and career development program expert
Awards
  • Recipient of the Excellent Community Jazz Education Service Award from Tumen City, China
  • Contributed to Latin Grammy–nominated album (Yeahwon) as project manager
  • Arts Administration Scholarship Recipient, Columbia University
  • Jazz Fellowship Recipient, School of Jazz and Contemporary Music, The New School
Education
  • Ed.D., Northeastern University, higher education administration (specialized in student affairs and acculturation)
  • M.A., Columbia University, arts administration
  • M.M., New York University, music technology
  • B.F.A., The New School, School of Jazz and Contemporary Music, jazz studies
In Their Own Words
Throughout my education, I have encountered multiple mentors who exemplified their expertise both within and beyond the confines of the classroom. These individuals were truly inspirational figures who reshaped my perception of the interplay between self and the world. One of the most invaluable lessons I gleaned from them pertains to the manner in which educators guide students to collaboratively generate knowledge, enabling them to internalize and apply it to real-world contexts. They assumed the role of humble facilitators of learning, openly acknowledging their perpetual status as learners themselves. This profound encounter has undeniably laid the foundation for my pedagogical philosophy.

My aspiration is for students to acquire the proficiency to collaboratively foster knowledge and assist one another in its practical application within real-world scenarios. My intention extends beyond the mere transmission of information to them. I wholeheartedly advocate for their autonomy in discovering their own distinct pathways to learning. My contentment will stem from witnessing them uncover the authentic essence of life through this academic expedition.
I am fascinated by the interdisciplinary approach to understanding phenomena. My extensive professional experiences across industries and interdisciplinary research background help me formulate the right questions and answer them practically and philosophically. For example, I began playing the double bass at the age of 27, which is considered relatively late to master an instrument. I initiated this journey by compiling relevant information from various disciplines, ranging from neuroscience to adult learning theory, in order to contextualize my learning processes. I then applied these insights to address very specific questions about mastering the instrument.

My music serves as a prime illustration of an interdisciplinary approach. I use different foreign languages to convey musicians’ unique interpretations of stories, making my music a vivid example of this multifaceted methodology. This interdisciplinary approach will naturally manifest itself in my teaching style, and I am very excited to create the best learning experience for students in my classes.