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.
Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Sung began classical piano and violin lessons at age five, studying during her formative teenage years with a severe teacher of the Russian classical piano tradition.
Helen walked this straight and narrow 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 remember wanting to jump out of my skin, this music was so alive...I remember thinking I didn't know you were allowed to play the piano like that!