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A native of Houston, Texas, Sung attended Houston’s High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA). She initially aspired to be a classical pianist but was bitten by the jazz bug (specifically by Tommy Flanagan’s solo on Charlie Parker’s composition Confirmation) while studying at the University of Texas at Austin. Going against both her musical and cultural upbringing, she switched to jazz and was soon after accepted into the inaugural class of theThelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance (then at Boston’s New England Conservatory of Music).
An intensive program accepting only seven students (forming a jazz septet), the Institute proved to be an unprecedented opportunity to study and perform with some of the greatest masters of jazz music: Clark Terry, Wynton Marsalis, Jimmy Heath, Jackie McLean, Bobby Watson, Harry "Sweets" Edison, James Moody, Ron Carter (artistic director of the program), Barry Harris, David Baker, Slide Hampton, Lewis Nash, Jon Faddis, Curtis Fuller, Albert "Tootie" Heath,Bennie Maupin, and Sir Roland Hanna. They performed at the Kennedy Center, and toured India and Thailand with Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter. Personal highlights of Sung’s time in Boston include presenting a jazz workshop with the late, acclaimed bassist Ray Brown, performing at the Tanglewood Jazz Festival, and feature television spots.
Sung has worked with Clark Terry, Slide Hampton, Ron Carter, Jon Faddis, Wayne Shorter, Steve Turre, T.S.Monk, Terri Lyne Carrington, and MacArthur Fellow Regina Carter. She frequently appears with the Mingus Big Band and was a featured performer on PBS’ 'In Performance at the White House' for theMonk Institute’s 20th Anniversary Celebration in 2006.
As bandleader, Sung has performed on Marian McPartland’s acclaimed Piano Jazz show, NPR’s JazzSet w/DeeDee Bridgewater, and XM Radio’s In the Swing Seat w/Wynton Marsalis. Sung has feature print pieces in such publications as Down Beat, JazzTimes, Keyboard, JazzIz, and AllAboutJazz. Her band has headlined at the Fontana Chamber Arts Summer Festival, Kalisz International Jazz Piano Festival, the Kennedy Center’s Mary Lou Williams Jazz Festival, Clifford Brown Jazz Festival, Vermont Mozart Festival, Jazz Lucca Donna Festival (Italy), Tri-C Jazz Festival (Cleveland), Jazz Festival Bern, the American Jazz Museum’s ‘Blue Room,’ The Philadelphia Museum of Art, and New York City’s finest jazz venues.
Her CD Helenistique was praised as “…one of the year’s most exciting listens” (JazzTimes); and Sungbird after Albéniz, a jazz-classical adventure, was hailed “a real winner” (All About Jazz), a “seamless recording in which one composer’s contributions complement the other’s.” (BillBoard). Her project NuGenerations toured southern Africa (Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Namibia, and South Africa) as a 2009 US State Department-Rhythm Road: American Music Abroad ensemble.
Her rich experience at the Monk Institute inspires her to stay involved with music education through working with arts organizations and conducting workshops and clinics. Sung was also a recipient of a Chamber Music America/Doris Duke Foundation Grant enabling her to conduct a jazz residency program for underserved youth in Camden, NJ.