Helen Sung is an acclaimed jazz pianist and composer. A native of Houston, Texas, and graduate of its High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA
), she eschewed her classical piano upbringing after a jazz epiphany during undergraduate studies at UT Austin. Helen went on to become part of the inaugural class of the Thelonious Monk Institute (now the Herbie Hancock Institute
) at the New England Conservatory of Music. Her recent releases Sung With Words
(Stricker Street), a collaborative project with renowned poet Dana Gioia
funded by a Chamber Music America New Jazz Works Grant, and Anthem For A New Day
(Concord Jazz) topped the jazz charts. Helen and her band have performed at major American festivals and venues including Newport, Monterey, Disney Hall, SFJAZZ, and Carnegie Hall. Internationally, her “NuGenerations" Project toured southern Africa as a U.S. State Department Jazz Ambassador, and recent engagements include debuts at the London Jazz Festival, Jazz at Lincoln Center Shanghai, Blue Note Beijing, and the Sydney International Women's Jazz Festival. She has performed with such luminaries as the late Clark Terry, Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter, Wynton Marsalis (who named her as one of his "Who's Got Next: Jazz Musicians to Watch!"), MacArthur Fellow Regina Carter, and Grammy-winning artists including Terri Lyne Carrington, Cecile McLorin Salvant, and the Mingus Big Band. Helen is a Steinway Artist
and has served on the jazz faculties at Berklee College of Music, the Juilliard School, and Columbia University, where she also was the inaugural jazz artist-in-residence at Columbia's prestigious Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute.
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No April Foolin'
It has been an amazing month! First, I found out my collaboration with dancer & neurorehabilitation researcher Miriam King was one of 53 projects selected for the New Music USA 2021 Creator Development Fund. Then, on Friday April 9 I wrapped my "double quartet" album, capping off an intense week of rehearsals and days in the studio with my fabulous Quartet and the equally fabulous Harlem Quartet. But not before I found out on Thursday that I was awarded a 2021 Guggenheim Fellowship...! I am so grateful for these mandates to keep creating - April has indeed been a veritable shower of blessing, so I can't wait to see what flowers in May :)
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