Helen Sung 'Sung With Words'

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Last Show: Monday 4 th February 2019

The Pheasantry (Chelsea)

Pianist/composer Helen Sung has spent most of her life in two distinct worlds: a classical student from a young age who transitioned to jazz in her early twenties, she understands the limitless range and potential of the piano in a way that few specialists in either genre can. In addition, as the daughter of Chinese immigrants, Sung embodies two diverse cultures and has discovered a musical voice and identity that are true to both - and more importantly, true to herself.

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“Sung does admirable work here, crafting arrangements of great diversity and conviction”

Giovanni Russonello, DownBeat Magazine

Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Sung began classical piano and violin lessons at age five, studying during her formative teenage years with a strict teacher of the Russian classical piano tradition. Helen walked this rigorous path all the way through four years of Houston's acclaimed High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA), choosing to continue her classical piano studies at the University of Texas in Austin despite her parents' hopes that she pursue a more traditional career in medicine.

Her plan was to become a concert pianist, enter competitions, and most likely teach in tandem with performing, but a seismic shift occurred in her last year of undergraduate studies, when a friend invited her to a Harry Connick, Jr., concert. Helen recalls, "He performed with his big band and they were very entertaining. But in the middle of the concert, he sat down and played some solo piano pieces. I wanted to jump out of my skin, this music was so alive...and I remember thinking "I didn't know you were allowed to play the piano like that!"

Helen maintains close ties with her hometown Houston, performing there regularly and visiting her high school HSPVA to conduct master classes with both the classical and jazz departments. In 2017 she was inducted into HSPVA's "Hall of Fame" and the University of Texas at Austin College of Fine Arts awarded Sung with its most prestigious honor: the E. William Doty Distinguished Alumna Award.

Band Lineup

Helen Sung (keys)

Christie Dashiel (vocals)