Shelton musician has performed all over the world

Musician and music teacher Ah Young Sung of Shelton said it’s great to be able to watch her young students perform.

“I love being able to transfer what I’ve learned in music to the kids, like when I was little,” Sung said. “It’s very satisfying, although the kids can test your patience at times.”

Sung, 34, is a professional musician who plans the viola, violin and piano. She now is the principal violist for the Waterbury Symphony Orchestra.

She previously founded and performed with the Alianza String Quartet all over the world, including in Europe and Asia. Closer to home, she’s been featured on the stage at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Music school faculty member

As an instructor, Sung is head of the faculty at the Connecticut School of Music in Westport. She offers one-on-one lessons with her students four days a week.

She has been teaching at the private school for about five years.

Will perform at benefit concert

On May 10, Sung and a dozen other musicians will perform in the Connecticut School of Music’s All-Star Faculty Concert to benefit the Breast Cancer Alliance from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Church, 10 Lyons Plains Road, Westport.

“This will be a great opportunity for parents, students and the public to see what the faculty offers professionally,” Sung said, referring to the musical abilities of Connecticut School of Music instructors.

Tickets are $15 per person; for information, contact Megan Zboray at or 203-226-0805.

All proceeds will go to the Breast Cancer Alliance, a Fairfield County-based organization that focuses on prevention, early detection, treatment, and finding a cure for the disease.

Native of South Korea

Sung was born in South Korea. Her mother was a professional pianist and her father was a music lover.

She began playing piano when young, then took up the viola at age 12. “I was told that instrument was good for me and my personality,” she said.

Sung earned her bachelor’s degree from London’s Royal Academy of Music, receiving awards as the most talented student violist.

She then came to the United States and graduated from the Yale School of Music.

Sung travels back home to Korea once or twice a year to see her parents and her brother, who is a businessman. “Every time I go back, I play at least one concert there,” she said.

'I do what I love for a living'

Sung loves what she does. “My friends tell me they’re jealous of me because I do what I love for a living,” she said.

She moved to Shelton fours years ago, attracted because it is a quiet community not too far from New Haven.

“My view is amazing,” she said, noting she’s able to admire the Housatonic River from her residence.

At home, she practices on the viola a few hours on most days. “I try to accomplish something every day,” she said.

Sung said she continues to learn new things as a musician, but confessed this can take longer than when she was younger and still a student.

She sometimes misses New Haven, with its faster pace and more frequent interaction with fellow musicians.

Traveling less for career now

Sung’s new routine involves much less travel than when she performed professionally on a year-round basis.

She liked visiting new places, but noted that touring for a few months straight also can bring frustrations. “Overall, it was a great experience,” she said.

Her favorite destination is London, where she had studied and was principal violist for the London Korean Symphony Orchestra.

As a member of the Waterbury Symphony Orchestra, she usually performs six concerts a year, at the Palace Theater and Naugatuck Valley Community College.

Technology and YouTube

Sung said people nowadays tend to attend fewer live concerts, preferring to listen to recorded music during their leisure time. She said computer technology and YouTube have impacted how people consume music.

What kind of music does she listen to in her free time?

She mentioned Michael Bublé and Norah Jones as favorites, and she also likes church choir music. “I don’t really like rock music,” she said.