Life Story

The daughter of a pianist who had always dreamed of accompanying her own child, Lisa Sung was handed a violin at age three. Only several years later, she stood before her first audience playing a Viotti concerto. Surrounded by enthusiastic audience members, she realized her love for music and performing. 

It was not until age eleven that she picked up the viola for a music scholarship audition, which she won. Reluctant at first, she slowly became attached to the warm qualities of the viola and went on to win local competitions. She eventually won the State Concerto Competition in Australia, and performed the Bartók Viola Concerto at the Sydney Opera House. Lisa earned her first accolade from the Prime Minister of Australia, John Howard, after a solo performance with her mother. She then went on to appear on national music publications and performed concertos by Mozart, Vaughan Williams, Walton, and Wranitzky. She was also featured live on Sydney radio broadcasts.

Lisa left Australia to study at the Juilliard School in New York as a recipient of the Kovner Fellowship in its inaugural year. As a master’s student there, she continues to be influenced by her teachers Paul Neubauer and Cynthia Phelps. Juilliard has provided her with many opportunities including a solo performance of Stravinsky’s Elegie at Alice Tully Hall, an appearance on WQXR’s Midday Masterpieces, and the opportunity to serve as co-principal violist of the Juilliard Orchestra.

It was also at Juilliard that her love for chamber music grew tremendously, and in 2016 her all-female quartet ‘Kahlo’ was selected for Juilliard’s esteemed Honors Chamber Music Program. As a quartet, they were heard in Alice Tully Hall, presented the world-premiere of Coexistence by Byung Gu Kim, participated in the Juilliard String Quartet seminar and ChamberFest, were live-streamed on Medici TV, and played in the Keith Robinson masterclass at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.

Since then, she has participated in several of the most prestigious festivals in the world, including the Verbier Festival Academy, Music@Menlo International Program, Perlman Chamber Workshop, Taos School of Music, Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, IMS Prussia Cove (UK) and Lac Leman Music Masterclasses (Switzerland).

Lisa was a laureate at the 2013 Gisborne International Music Competition, 2016 Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition, 2017 Manhattan International Music Competition, and the 2019 Vienna International Music Competition. These awards gave her more exposure and recognition, leading to her appointment as the new associate principal violist of Symphony in C, as well as invitations to play frequently as a guest musician with the New York Philharmonic and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. She also became a member of the Jupiter Chamber Players, a New York-based ensemble that specializes in performing lesser-known chamber works. She has collaborated with notable artists including violinists Catherine Cho, Mark Kaplan, and Joseph Lin, violist Paul Neubauer, and conductors Thomas Adés, Alan Gilbert, Barbara Hannigan, Manfred Honeck, David Robertson, and Jaap van Zweden.

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