Sophie Dunér biography
“It’s not fusion – it’s Dúneresque – a newly created genre!” Michael Haas, Recording Producer
Sophie Dunér is a singer, songwriter, composer and visual artist. Originally from Sweden, she travels and performs internationally as her blend of jazz, world music and contemporary classical writing receives demand worldwide – from the infamous CBGB´s in New York City to Buenos Aires Festival de Música Contemporánea de La Plata to Festival O/Modernt in Sweden. Her wild, risky, passionate and exhilarating music for vocals and string quartet as well as for cello is exemplified in her two most recent albums: The City of My Soul, produced by Michael Haas and released on PARMA Recordings in 2013 and The City of Dizzy (CD Baby 2016). The City of My Soul became PARMA’s biggest selling disc for download sales in February 2015. During spring 2016, the same disc got a great 3 page feature in the book `From Baroque to Bop and Beyond´(Lynn Réne Bayley, The Art Music Lounge). In 2019, it was recently featured on PARMAs “Visionary String Quartets” Spotify playlist. David Balakrishnan (violinist and founder of Turtle Island String Quartet) has said about Sophie and her music: “She is a seriously talented singer, and nicely set in string quartet, really beautiful original material.”
Previous CDs include The Rain in Spain/Sophie Dunér Quartet, featuring Rory Stuart, Matt Penmann & Kahlil Qwame Bell (CIMP). Sophie has an upcoming, pending CD release of her collaboration together with the legendary jazz bassist Dominic Duval (former member of Cecil Taylor´s band).
The CD The City of Dizzy was recorded in Boston together with cellist Jeremy Harman (from The Sirius Quartet). It was a result of their collaboration at the PARMA Music Festival. In December 2017, she toured the US performing an audiovisual concert together with Jeremy at ShapeShifter Lab (Brooklyn, N.Y) as well as at The LilyPad (Cambridge, Boston) together with Bertram Lehman. She was also invited by Composers Concordance in the event “Sophie Dunér meets Mark Kostabi & Gene Pritsker” (performing the music of visual artist/composer Mark Kostabi and composer/performer/D.J rapper Gene Pritsker) at Kostabi World Uptown (Manhattan). Followed by a 45 minute music feature & interview by Boice-Terrel Allen for the radio podcast Talk Music Talk in NYC abnd a feature in Broadway World.
The music of Sophie may be described as a blend of the romantic and the spiritually elevated with a dissonant, bold and satirical edge. It plays with tense colours resolving into romantic harmony or vice versa. This applies to the music as well as the lyrics, which are mostly tragicomic. With her musical roots in jazz, Sophie has developed in a direction mainly created by herself or, as producer Michael Haas has it: “It’s not fusion – it’s Dúneresque – a newly created genre!” However, you may find a rich blend of influences from jazz, contemporary classical and world music. The bold lyrics are an essential element of the music, creating colours and rhythms that relate to the narrative, spiced with satire that is reminiscent of the 30s, but set in a contemporary arrangement. Sophie personally draws heavily on a variety of composers such as Weill, Monk, Mingus, Henze and Stravinsky. She perceives her music visually, and her songs are strongly connected to her paintings.
She has also had her music featured in the Madrid based theatre play Hora de Salida (dir. by A. Arroyo) thats been running in various Madrid theatres during 2015/2016/2017. Other engagements include the Bimbache Open Art Festival in El Hierro at the invitation of jazz guitarist Torsten de Winkel and the Festival O/Modernt at Ulriksdals Castle Theatre outside Stockholm (where she collaborated with the O/Modernt Chamber Orchestra as well as with bassist Sébastién Dubé, among others) under the direction of violinist Hugo Ticciati. (A festival that included performers such as Polar prize winner percussionist Evelyn Glennie.) Sophie’s art was the subject of exhibitions at both festivals.
Sophie’s art is featured in the art almanac “A Journey Through The Senses” by curator Christer Botéus, alongside the work of 13 other European artists. A copy of The City of my Soul is included with every copy.
Previous tours have included dates in New York, Boston, Buenos Aires, Spain and Puerto Rico, venues including Moods Jazz Club in Zurich and The Pizza Express Jazz Club and festivals including The Stockholm New Music Festival, Spain´s Jazz en La Costa and Baltic Jazz Festival. Her style has evolved through collaborations with many musicians from around the world, including Rory Stuart, Guy Livingston, Jürg Wickihalder, Steve Hamilton, Paul Clarvis, Martin France, Bertram Lehmann, Matt Pennmann, Dominic Duval, Sébastien Dubé, Kahlil Kwame Bell, Agustín Gerenu and Francis Schwartz to name a few.
At the recommendation of Karlheinz Stockhausen, Sophie studied vocal interpretation at the Stockhausen summer Courses in Kuerten, Germany for two years during which time she was supported by The Swedish Arts Council. She also studied at Berklee College of Music in Boston where she earned a degree in Performance.
During her time in Boston, she performed at CBGBs in New York City and with Herb Pomeroy’s Big Band and collaborated with Guillermo Klein and The Big Van at Small’s Jazz Club in NYC alongside Sten Höstfält, Seamus Blake, Mark Turner and Aaron Goldberg. She recorded in NY with Fernando Tarrés, Fernando Huergo and Don McCaslin. She also founded The Sophie Dunér Orchestra who she recorded with and toured with in Boston, to The Sapporo Snow Festival in Japan and the Stockholm Jazz Festival.
The Swedish Arts Council has awarded Sophie grants on four occasions.
During spring 2018, Sophie was featured as a female composer on The Big List of Donne – Women in Music – Celebrating Women Composers which resulted in a video interview next to other female composers (Drama Musica, UK). Her video was also featured in Limelight Magazine next to DONNE founder Gabriella DiLaccio (Congrats to Ms.DiLaccio for being on the BBC 100 Women 2018 list! ) In September 2018, Sophie´s piece “Pey Vav Yud” was performed and premiered in the multi-media concert/event produced by Composers Concordance – Chorus 72 – with projected art by Rainer Gross and Mark Kostabi – for The New Music Series at William Paterson University Shea Center for Performing Arts – Shea Auditorium (N.J, US) During fall 2018, Raul da Gama gave Sophie a 4 page feature in Jazz da Gama. She recently recorded the piece “Checkmate My Love” composed for her by the Madrid based Spanish/American contemporary composer José Luis Greco, to be premiered in Madrid. During winter 2018/19, Sophie completed a tour in NYC and Berlin that included appearances and collabs together with composer Gene Pritsker at Cornelia St Cafe (“Concept Lab” by Seth Boustead), Symphony Space (with Mark Kostabi), CD recording of “Eclectic Songs” (for upcoming release on Composers Concordance Records) and a video shoot of the jazz / metal tune The Express Train at Grand Central Station (NYC). This was followed by a concert with EMX (Eclectic Music eXtravaganza) at SOWIESO Neukölln (Berlin) where she also recorded “Making Money Money in Berlin” with virtuoso pianist (and radiomaker) Guy Livingston. During her NYC tour, she also gave an interview and performed at BOLD TV together with percussionist Noah Lehrmann as well as participating in the video anthology about women composers, Nevertheless She Composed, who interviewed Sophie about her work, for upcoming release in fall 2019. Coming up in 2020, Sophie is invited as featured guest composer/singer for the annual chamber concerts event “In The Avant Garden of Love” with Present Music in Milwaukee. She is also featured in the upcoming Composers Concordance 2019/2020 season.