Biography

“It’s not fusion – it’s Dúneresque – a newly created genre!” Grammy Award winning recording producer Michael Haas

Sophie Dunér is a singer, composer (& painter) with her roots in jazz. Originally from Sweden, she travels and performs internationally as her blend of jazz, world and contemporary classical writing receives demand worldwide – from the infamous CBGB´s in NYC to Buenos Aires Festival de Música Contemporánea de La Plata to Festival O/Modernt in Sweden. Her music for vocals & string quartet as well as for cello is exemplified in her two most recent albums: The City of My Soul, produced by Michael Haas (PARMA Recordings 2013) and biggest selling disc for download sales in February 2015. David Balakrishnan (founder of Turtle Island String Quartet) said about her “…a seriously talented singer, and nicely set in string quartet, really beautiful original material.”  The City of Dizzy (CD Baby 2016) received reviews such as “….improvising like a jazz horn. Many such singers have claimed this distinction, but only a handful, Dunér, Mark Murphy and Anita O’Day among them, have ever really achieved this.” – The Art Music Lounge. Jazz da Gama wrote “Both stretching vocal and instrumental technique so that she not only fits the music of the 20th and 21st centuries, but seemingly all of the desperate fear and unbridled joy of human existence into every the extraordinary lyric.”

In 2020, The CD ‘Songs Eclectic’ was recorded together with the ingenious multi-musician Gene Pritsker in NYC, released on BANDCAMP.  She also particibated as singer/improviser on ‘What Matters’ by Gene Pritsker & Friends. Her (separate) collabs with G.Pritsker & J.Harman led to two videos of her jazz/metal tune “The Express Train” at Grand Central Station in NYC in 2019. Previous CDs include The Rain in Spain featuring renown jazz musicians Rory Stuart, Matt Penmann & Kahlil Qwame Bell. (CIMP). Sophie also recorded a CD of standards together with the late, legendary jazz bassist Dominic Duval (who spent a decade with Cecil Taylor).

Her music may be described as a blend of the romantic and the spiritually elevated with a dissonant, bold and satirical edge, playing with tense colours resolving into romantic harmony or vice versa. With musical roots in jazz, Sophie personally draws heavily on a variety of composers such as Kurt Weill, Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, Hans Werner Henze, Dizzy Gillespie & Stravinsky.

Other festivals include Bimbache Open Art Festival, PARMA Music Festival, Jazz en La Costa, Getxo Jazz Festival, Stockholm Jazz Festival, Baltic Jazz Festival, Festival de Jazz de Lugo, Sapporo Snow Festival, Stockholm New Music Festival etc. Tours include dates in Europe & USA at venues such as The ShapeShifter Lab, Cornelia St Cafe, Symphony Space, The LilyPad, Smalls, Kostabi World, SOWIESO, Moods, The Pizza Express, Circulo de Bellas Artes etc. Her style has evolved through collaborations with musicians from around the world, apart from the ones mentioned, she worked with Jürg Wickihalder, Steve Hamilton, Paul Clarvis, Martin France, Matt Pennmann, Sébastien Dubé, Hugo Ticciati, Torsten de Winkel, Gere Gerenu, & Francis Schwartz etc.

At the recommendation of Karlheinz Stockhausen, Sophie studied vocal interpretation at the Stockhausen summer Courses in Kuerten, Germany for two years, supported by a grant from The Swedish Arts Council. She also studied at Berklee College of Music in Boston, earning a degree in Performance, studying improvisation with Hal Crook, George Garzone & Ed Tomassi. While in Boston, she performed & recorded with jazz groups such as The Herb Pomeroy’s Big Band, Guillermo Klein & The Big Van (feat. Seamus Blake, Mark Turner & Aaron Goldberg). In N.Y, with Fernando Tarrés (feat. Dan Rieser, Fernando Huergo & Don McCaslin). She also founded The Sophie Dunér Orchestra, touring in the Boston area, Scandinavia & Japan.The Swedish Arts Council awarded Sophie grants on 4 occasions.

In 2018, she was featured in “DONNE” – a video series about women composers created by “BBC 100 Women” award winner & London based soprano Gabriella DiLaccio. Her piece  “Pey Vav Yud” was premiered in the multi-media concert by Composers Concordance – Chorus 72 – with projected art by Rainer Gross & Mark Kostabi – for The New Music Series at William Paterson University Shea Center for Performing Arts, Shea Auditorium (N.J, US). She also recorded  “Checkmate My Love” composed for her by the Madrid based J.L Greco. During winter 2018/19, Sophie toured NYC & Berlin, including appearances together with Gene Pritsker, EMX, Mark Kostabi, Seth Boustead, Charles Coleman and Guy Livingston etc. at Symphony Space and at Cornelia St Café in NYC, with EMX at SOWIESO in Berlin and making the video “Making Money Money in Berlin” with pianist Guy Livingston. In NYC, she gave an interview & performed at BOLD TV together with percussionist Noah Lehrmann.

During February 2020, she was featured Artist in Residence for the annual chamber concerts event “In The Avant Garden of Love” with Present Music, led by co-artistic directors violinist Eric Segnitz (Kepler Quartet) & conductor David Bloom (Contemporaneous) in Milwaukee. She was also  featured on NPR Wisconsin “Lake Effect” as well as on Arts Avenue (Wisconsin TV) prior to her concerts.  Her residency was followed by a jazz performance with the (ex Beach Boys pianist) “Carli Munoz Trio” at Carli’s Bistro in San Juan, P.R. She continued her US 2020 engagements joining Gene Pritsker’s Sound Liberation at Piano’s in NYC. She was also booked with the same group for the NYC events “Tin Pan Allegiances” at Opera America & “Eclectic Bands” at Settepani’s but due to Covid19, it was cancelled. During lockdown in April, May & June in NYC, she performed live as featured guest artist for the online event series “Virtual Hotenanny” #1, #2, #3 & #4 hosted by Present Music. Her music was also featured in Guy Livingston’s 2 podcasts of “The Bug” as well as “Composers With Drinks Listening To Music (Un)Limited #2” by Seth Boustead & Gene Pritsker. Sophie is a part of Composers Concordance 2020 season where she participated as a composer/singer during the event “Social Bubble Salon Concert” at Kostabi World Uptown in NYC with live streaming on FB on May 30. She also premiered Francis Schwartz piece “The Neon Pterodactyl” during Present Music’s Hootenanny #4 as well as being featured during Present Music’s season highlights in August. In September, she had scheduled a performance at the iconic “The Bop Shop” in N.Y together with bassist Dominic Duval Jr (dedicated to her CD with late legendary bass player Dominic Duval Sr.) On November 1, she had her piece ‘Mad about Monk’ premiered, featuring Latin Grammy award winning conga player Samuel Torres (among other musicians) during Composers Concordance event ‘Conga Mania’ at Kostabi World in Manhattan. Dr. Sushi’s Free Jazz BBQ / WMSE has frequently featured Sophie’s music during 2020 and hosted her CD release show of ‘Songs Eclectic’ together with Gene Pritsker in January 2021. Sophie and Gene were also commissioned by Dr. Sushi to present two pieces for his Mardi Gras radio show. The Charles Mingus Virtual Festival (2021)  featured her various live versions of the Mingus tune ‘Weird Nightmare’ .

Being a painter as well, she had her 45 minute long Art Film Noir edited by award winning animator Juan de Graaf.  It was a premiere feature during her Artist Residency with Present Music. In March, her short film “Distorted Souls” was premiered during the Manhattan based AddAMovie Film Festival. Sophie also composed the new piece ‘Beleive Her’, accompanying her film. She is currently editing a video recording series she made together with bassist extraordinaire, Sébastien Dubé.