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Helen Sung

New York, NY         

Pianist/composer Helen Sung hails from Houston, TX, where she attended the High School for the Performing & Visual Arts. An aspiring classical pianist before jazz intervened during undergraduate studies at the University of Texas at Austin, Sung went on to graduate from the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance (at the New England Conservatory) and win the Kennedy Center’s Mary Lou Williams Jazz Piano Competition. Now based in New York City, Sung has worked with such luminaries as the late Clark Terry, Ron Carter, Victor Lewis, Steve Turre, Wayne Shorter, and MacArthur Fellow Regina Carter.

Sung’s sixth release as leader, Anthem For A New Day (2014), is her major label debut on Concord Records. It topped jazz radio charts, reached #25 on the Billboard Jazz Album chart, and garnered a SESAC Performance Activity Award. With appearances at major festivals/venues including Newport, Monterey, Detroit, SFJAZZ, and Carnegie Hall, Sung is also stepping onto the international stage: her NuGenerations Project toured southern Africa as a U.S. State Department Jazz Ambassador, and recent engagements include European tours promoting Anthem, the London Jazz Festival, and Shanghai’s “JZ Festival”. In addition to her own band, Sung can currently be seen with such fine ensembles as the Mingus Big Band & Dynasty Band, T.S.Monk Band, and Terri Lyne Carrington’s Mosaic Project (she also performed on Terri Lyne Carrington’s Grammy-winning album Mosaic Project).

An active composer, Sung has completed various commissions and was awarded a 2014 Chamber Music America/Doris Duke Foundation “New Jazz Works” Grant, enabling her to create and premiere Sung With Words, a “music-inspiring-poetry-inspiring-music” collaborative project with Dana Gioia, California’s new Poet Laureate and former Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. Inspired by her experience at the Monk Institute, Sung stays involved in music education through residencies and workshops/clinics, and in the Fall of 2015 joined the jazz faculties at the Juilliard School and Columbia University.

Introducing Pianist/Composer Helen Sung

An introduction to the world and work of pianist/composer Helen Sung. Contributing Photographers: Kat Villacorta, Jason A. Cina, Rudy Lu, Andrew Browne, Ella Gahnt, Bill Wagner. Video Design: Pierre Lamoureux, Helen Sung. Video Editing: Josh Schwartz. Music: “H-Town (for Houston)” by Helen Sung Trio [with Derrick Hodge, bass & Lewis Nash, drums].

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Helen Sung’s “Anthem For A New Day”

Helen Sung says of her Concord Jazz debut ‘Anthem for a New Day’ – “With my previous albums, I was searching, experimenting — not that that ever ends. But this is the first project where I feel the most comfortable with who I am as an artist, where I am as an artist, what I’m doing as an artist. It brings the different pieces of my experience together in a way that’s organic and authentic. That kind of clarity is very exciting.”

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Anthem For A New Day (by Helen Sung, SESAC)

Title track from Sung’s Concord Jazz release ‘Anthem For A New Day’, heralding a new chapter in her journey as a composer.

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