Duke’s Keys Vol. 3: Helen Sung
When the National Jazz Museum in Harlem received a white 1917 Kramer baby grand piano that belonged to Duke Ellington, it came along with the request that it be played. In our third Duke’s Keys performance, the dynamic pianist and composer Helen Sung will share her musical offerings.
ABOUT THE ARTIST:
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 a “Who’s Who” in Jazz, including the late Clark Terry, Ron Carter, Wayne Shorter, Wynton Marsalis, and MacArthur Fellow Regina Carter.
With five albums as leader, Sung’s sixth release Anthem For A New Day (Concord Jazz) topped jazz radio charts 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 US State Department Jazz Ambassador and other engagements include a European CD Release Tour for Anthem, the London Jazz Festival, Taichung International Jazz Festival (Taiwan), and Morelia Music Festival (Mexico). Sung also currently performs with fine ensembles such as the Mingus Big Band, T.S.Monk Band, and Terri Lyne Carrington’s Mosaic Project (she performed on Carrington’s Grammy-winning album Mosaic Project).
Sung is an active composer and has received several commissions and grants, including a 2014 Chamber Music America/Doris Duke Foundation New Jazz Works Grant. Inspired by her experience at the Monk Institute, Sung stays involved in music education through residencies/workshops, and joined the jazz faculties at the Juilliard School and Columbia University in 2015.