Grace Talks About Helen

David Johnston

Helen Sung

2010 Con Edison Musicians' Residency Composer, Helen Sung

From our new Program Specialist, Grace Chandarlapaty, today’s guest-blogger:

“Greetings, I am thrilled to post my first blog as a new member of the EtM staff!

Today I write about two figures in jazz: Helen Sung, award-winning pianist/composer and 2010 Con Edison Composer-in-Residence and Dana Gioia, poet and former National Endowment for the Arts Chairman.

Both came to jazz from unconventional backgrounds. Sung originally trained as a classical pianist, finishing her MM in piano performance at University of Texas at Austin before moving on to the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance. Gioia holds an MBA, and is known as a poet, anthologist, and critic. (For more on Dana Gioia and his tenure as Chairman of the NEA, check out this 2004 interview.)  While attending a mutual jazz function, Sung and Gioia struck up a friendship, resulting in “Sung with Words”.

“Sung with Words” are gorgeous settings of Gioia’s poetry, along with those of Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, Emily Dickinson and Robert Friend. To hear this stunning program, come to Sung’s FREE public performance at Flushing Town Hall on Saturday, April 30, 2011 at 2pm. Mark your calendars now for what will promise to a transformative musical experience.”


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