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Acclaimed jazz pianist and composer Helen Sung meets Kansas City’s own Bach Aria Soloists for a world premiere performance! BAS commissioned Sung to compose a work celebrating Bach as the OG improviser, the foundations of jazz. Join us for a one-of-a-kind collaborative evening and “piano playing at a quite unbelievably jaw-dropping level” (London Jazz News).

About Helen Sung

Helen Sung is an acclaimed jazz pianist and composer, and a 2021 Guggenheim Fellow. A native of Houston, Texas, and graduate of its High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA), she eschewed her classical piano upbringing after a jazz epiphany during undergraduate studies at the University of Texas at Austin. Helen went on to become part of the inaugural class of the Thelonious Monk Institute (now the Herbie Hancock Institute) at the New England Conservatory of Music. Her newest album Quartet+ (Sunnyside Records), garnered a 4.5 star DownBeat review and inclusion in its “Best of 2021 Albums” list, and a JazzTimes cover story (January 2022 issue), while previous releases Sung With Words (Stricker Street), a collaborative project with renowned poet Dana Gioia, and Anthem For A New Day (Concord Jazz) topped the jazz charts. In addition to her own band, Helen has performed with such luminaries as the late Clark Terry, Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter, Wynton Marsalis, Regina Carter, Terri Lyne Carrington, Cecile McLorin Salvant, and the Mingus Big Band. Recent activities of note include Re-Orientation: Asian American Artists Out Loud (made possible by a Chamber Music America Digital Residency grant): provoked by anti-Asian violence, Helen teamed her quartet with a poet, a hip-hop artist/rapper, and an installation artist in a series of interdisciplinary events to celebrate the range and diversity of Asian American artistry. Helen’s 2021 Guggenheim Fellowship is being applied toward a mutli-movement composition for big band; one of the movements, “Wayne’s World,” won the 2022 BMI Charlie Parker Jazz Composition Prize. Helen has served on the jazz faculties of the Berklee College of Music and the Juilliard School. She is currently visiting faculty at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and an Associate Professor at Columbia University, where she also was the inaugural jazz artist-in-residence at its Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute exploring the intersection of jazz and neuroscience. Helen is a Steinway Artist.

About Bach Aria Soloists

Hailed for producing “the most surprising and brilliantly innovative collaborations,” Bach Aria Soloists curates and delivers their critically-acclaimed concert series presenting the genius and relevance of Johann Sebastian Bach, his contemporaries, and those he inspired to today for our community, through exhilarating, multi-genre collaborations and BAS’ FREE BachReach education in the schools and for seniors. The ensemble’s repertoire is adventurous and broad, including chamber music from Renaissance to Contemporary, vocal arias, Bach-centered and inspired chamber music and arias, Tango and new living composer commissions. Their signature arrangements can be heard in every concert bringing ancient and modern music to new life.

Bach Aria Soloists is led by Artistic Director-Founder-violinist Elizabeth Suh Lane. The Soloists include sparkling soprano Sarah Tannehill Anderson and multi-talented Elisa Williams Bickers, harpsichord-organ-piano. and numerous guest artists. In 2022 and 2016, Bach Aria Soloists was awarded the USArtists International grant from the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts and the Mellon Foundation. They were selected as a Finalist in the U.S. State Department’s Cultural and Educational 2022 American Music Abroad program and named The Arts Organization of 2020 by the Missouri Arts Council.

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