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Helen Sung Wins BMI’s Charlie Parker Jazz Composition Prize

Pianist also awarded Manny Albam commission to write piece for next year’s Summer Showcase

[L-R] BMI’s Senior Director of Jazz and Musical Theatre Patrick Cook and Musical Director Andy Farber present the 23rd Annual Charlie Parker Jazz Composition Prize to winning composer Helen Sung at the 33rd Annual BMI Jazz Composers Workshop Summer Showcase at Dizzy’s in New York City on June 13, 2022. (photo by Ezekiel Jeremiah/BMI)
BMI’s Senior Director of Jazz and Musical Theatre Patrick Cook, Assistant Musical Director Alan Ferber and Musical Director Andy Farber present the 23rd Annual Charlie Parker Jazz Composition Prize to winning composer Helen Sung at the 33rd Annual BMI Jazz Composers Workshop Summer Showcase at Dizzy’s in New York City on June 13, 2022. (photo by Ezekiel Jeremiah/BMI)

Pianist and composer Helen Sung is the winner of the 2022 Charlie Parker Jazz Composition Prize, which was presented by the performing rights organization BMI at its Jazz Composers Workshop’s Annual Summer Showcase at Dizzy’s Club in New York City on June 13. Sung’s “Jazz Portraits: II. Wayne Shorter” was among eight new compositions written for this year’s Workshop and performed by the BMI/New York Jazz Orchestra, a 17-piece repertory ensemble led by musical director Andy Farber and assistant music director Alan Ferber. Sung was also awarded the Manny Albam $3,000 commission to write a piece for next year’s Summer Showcase. Among the judges on the panel were Marcus Printup, Michael Abene, and Rufus Reid. 

The other works performed at the Showcase were: “The Deep End” by Todd Anderson, “Vaqueiro” by Ann Belmont, “Water Lillies” by Patrick Cornelius, “The Goodtime Gardens” by Ethan Helm, “Summer’s Ending” by Mike Malone, “Tis Bottle” by Len Pierro, and “Minor Feelings” by Rin Seo. The ensemble also performed works by the 2021 Charlie Parker Prize recipients Chuck Iwanusa and Tracy Yang, who debuted their commissioned compositions, “No Man’s Land” and “Sea Swell (Scene Taiwan II).”

Read more about Helen Sung in this profile from the January/February 2022 issue of JazzTimes.