Sophie Dunér is a singer, songwriter, composer, arranger and visual artist from Sweden who has lived and performed in the United States and Spain. Originally a jazz singer, her writing and performing have evolved into a unique style of wild, risky, passionate and exhilarating music for vocals and string quartet, uniquely her own. She has rendered pristine arrangements, stylistically a fusion between jazz and classical idioms –
– yet something brand new and “unbrandable”! Her CD The City Of My Dreams (2008/09), produced in Spain, generated a tremendous response from the international music press and radio, and caught the ear of Grammy award winning classical music producer Michael Haas (Coralfox), who testified to Sophie Dunér’s uniqueness. Miss Dunér’s latest effort is this outstanding collection of original songs (plus two traditionals), recorded by the singer and the revered young British/Irish Callino String Quartet at All Saints Vicarage in East Finchley, London. The CD is produced by Michael Haas, and engineered by Neil Hutchinson of Classic Sound. Just released on Big Round Records / PARMA recordings (USA) on March 26 2013. In relation to the release, Sophie gave a two hour radio presentation of her music on Monday Afternoon Classics with Gandalf on WJFF radio in N.Y. Apart from featuring music from her new release, tracks from her recent collaboration with Paris based experimental classical pianist brilliantíssimo, Guy Livingston, was broadcasted as well. There was also an invited guest into the studio for a live duo performance with Sophie: Legendary, NYC based avante garde bass player Dominic Duval.
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 Kurt Weill, Thelonious Monk and Igor Stravinsky. She perceives her music visually, and her songs are strongly connected to her paintings.
Cadence Magazine (N.Y.) stated that “…as a composer, lyricist and vocalist, we have to acknowledge that Sophie is a genuine triple threat”. She is also described by the same magazine as “A singer of astonishing range and technique, a composer and a creative musician with unusual ideas. Dunér is one of the most interesting singers I’ve heard recently”. Sweden’s Svenska Dagbladet awarded her a 5 star rating, describing her as “…….one of the most consistently iconoclastic singers in the country .” These songs as well as an interview were amounted to a two hour feature on “Monday Afternoon Classics with Gandalf”/WJFF, N.Y, USA. This collection was also selected among “the gems of the year” in P2 Live Jazz on the Swedish broadcasting corporation as well as chosen to be included on the “Best of the year list” in the music magazine Rootsy. In 2011 Sophie was invited by Argentine composer Luis Mihovilcevic (from Sonoridades Alternativas) to make a tour of Buenos Aires, where she presented her latest works, including her visual art. Important venues included Festival de Música Contemporánea de La Plata, Radio Clásica and Teatro La Ranchería.
In 2005 she recorded The Rain in Spain / Sophie Dunér Quartet – a CD of her own edgy, theatrically inspired jazz tunes with the American jazz label C.I.M.P, produced by Bob Rusch (who has produced Cecil Taylor and Chet Baker) in N.Y, USA with the distinguished musicians Rory Stuart, Matt Penmann and Kahlil Kwame Bell. Sophie is also featured on C.I.M.P’s CIMPOSIUM compilation CD alongside various artists from C.I.M.P, such as Dominic Duval & George Schuller. Modern classical music concerts have included tours in Spain, Holland and Puerto Rico with composers Manuel Ceide, Francis Schwartz, Eduardo Kusnir and Henk Alkema. In 2004 and 2005 she studied vocal interpretation at the Stockhausen Courses in Kuerten, Germany after a suggestion by the composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, on a grant from The Swedish Arts Council, which has awarded Sophie grants on four occasions.
Her early beginnings during the 90s included touring and recording with The Sophie Dunér Orchestra in Boston, USA, which brought her to The Sapporo Snow Festival in Japan and the Stockholm Jazz Festival. While at Berklee, she was featured in various prestigious big bands such as Herb Pomeroy’s Big Band & Phil Wilson’s Rainbow Band. She collaborated with Guillermo Klein and The Big Van at Small’s in NYC alongside Sten Höstfält and Aaron Goldberg. She recorded with Fernando Tarrés and The Arida Conta Group in CT together with Don McCaslin, Dan Rieser and Fernando Huergo and was a vocalist singer for The Composers of The New England Collectives, touring Boston and Spain. In Europe she has collaborated with important personalities such as Juerg Wickihalder, Steve Hamilton, Paul Clarvis, Martin France, José Agustín Gerenu and Leif Jordansson, with The Great Learning Orchestra. Prestigious venues have included The Stockholm New Music Festival, Gallery Gummeson, The Stockholm Jazz Festival, Gothenburg Symphony Hall, The Pizza Express Jazz Club, Circulo de Bellas Artes, Getxo Jazz Festival, Festival en La Costa, Fundación Eugenio Granell, to name but a few. She will be featured in a dvd/book written and produced by the established art gallerist Christer Botéus. It will contain a biography and the paintings of Sophie, next to thirteen other European visual artists. Sophie’s compositions will be the official music that sets the theme for this DVD.