Helen Sung is an acclaimed jazz pianist and composer, and a newly named 2021 Guggenheim Fellow. 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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A Jazzy June
Whoa, did May go by as fast for you as it did me? A lot happened: celebrating AAPI Heritage, mixing the music for my upcoming double quartet release, recording sessions in studios all around the New York City area, playing for a Lincoln Center Pop-Up concert in the Alice Tully Hall Atrium, streaming my monthly Jazz & Neuroscience programming from the National Jazz Museum in Harlem (vs my living room!) - it is exciting to see the steps being taken towards reclaiming live music and social gatherings! Summer is here too (and may it be nothing like last summer!) - have a wonderful June, get plenty of sun, stay safe & healthy, and maybe we'll see y'all at some live music near you :)
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