Litchfield Jazz Festival & Jazz Camp

Teaching Artists

Helen Sung

Helen Sung

Photo by Jason A. Cina

Helen Sung

Photo by Jason A. Cina

Helen Sung

Piano

Winner of the Kennedy Center’s Mary Lou Williams Piano Competition, Helen Sung has been called “one of the brightest emerging stars in jazz today.”  Breaking stereotypes as an Asian-American artist and composer, her experience in classical, jazz, & popular music gives her a compelling, unique voice.  Of Chinese heritage and a native of Houston, Texas, Helen initially aspired to be a classical pianist but was bitten by the jazz bug while an undergraduate and changed gears when accepted to the inaugural class of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance (at the New England Conservatory of Music), an intensive program accepting only seven students (forming a jazz septet).

Sung presently lives in New York City, and has gone on to work with such jazz masters as Clark Terry, Slide Hampton, Ron Carter, Buster Williams, Wayne Shorter and Regina Carter.  She also frequently appears with the Mingus Big Band and is a current member of Clark Terry’s “Big Badd” Big Band.

In addition to her work as a sideman, Sung is a budding bandleader and has been featured on Marian McPartland’s acclaimed NPR program Piano Jazz, NPR’s JazzSet with DeeDee Bridgewater, and XM Radio’s In the Swing Seat w/Wynton Marsalis.  Her band tours extensively, and most recently, her project NuGenerations was selected as a 2009 US State Department-Rhythm Road Ensemble and will tour Africa as American musical ambassadors.

Her experience at the Monk Institute inspires her to remain involved with music education through performing for arts organizations (including JazzReach) and conducting workshops.  Helen’s band led a jazz residency program (made possible by a Chamber Music America/Doris Duke Foundation grant) benefiting underserved youth in Camden, NJ.  She joins Litchfield Jazz Camp as a teaching artist in 2010.