Winner of the 2007 Kennedy Center’s Mary Lou Williams Piano Competition, and named by Wynton Marsalis as one of his 2011 “Who’s Got Next: Jazz Musicians to Watch” (Jet Magazine), pianist/composer Helen Sung is blazing her own path: as an Asian-American artist, she bridges diverse worlds with a singular sound and vision. A native of Houston, Texas, and graduate of its renowned High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Sung was an aspiring classical pianist at the University of Texas at Austin before jazz intervened “in the form of a Tommy Flanagan solo.” She went on to graduate from the prestigious Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance (at the New England Conservatory), and now this exceptional artist is enchanting listeners everywhere with her imaginative, modern artistry – her music swings, it's funky, intelligent, and also has the elegant textures and dazzling technique of her classical background.
Presently based in New York City, she has worked with such jazz luminaries as Clark Terry, Ron Carter, Wayne Shorter, and MacArthur Fellow Regina Carter. Sung has five first-rate albums to her credit, and with acclaimed debuts at the Monterey Jazz Festival, Detroit Jazz Festival, Litchfield Jazz Festival and Aspen Institute's Ideas Festival, she is poised for the international stage – her trio was featured at the Kalisz International Jazz Piano Festival, the Jazz Lucca Donna Festival; and her NuGenerations project toured southern Africa as a US State Department-Rhythm Road Jazz Ambassador. Sung has also appeared on Marian McPartland’s celebrated Piano Jazz program and in publications including DownBeat, JazzTimes, and Keyboard. In addition to her own band, Sung can currently be seen with fine ensembles including the Mingus Big Band & Mingus Dynasty, T.S.Monk Band, and Terri Lyne Carrington's Grammy-winning Mosaic Project.
Sung’s rich experience at the Monk Institute inspires her to remain involved with music education through clinics and workshops. She produced a jazz residency program (made possible by a Chamber Music America/Doris Duke Foundation grant) benefiting underserved youth, serves as Senior Faculty at the Litchfield Jazz Camp, and in the Fall of 2011 joined Berklee College of Music as an Associate Professor. In performance (and teaching), Sung welcomes “listeners into her world: a place of passion, adventure and drama, and truckloads of rhythm…taking audiences for a ride they won’t soon forget.” (Kalamazoo Gazette)
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