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Swedish Singer & Composer Sophie Dunér Performs With Milwaukee's Present Music

Bonnie North
Sophie Dunér and John McCullough-Benner perform in Lake Effect's Studio C."

Since graduating from Boston's Berklee College of Music in 1994, Swedish singer and composer Sophie Dunér has carved out a career composing and performing across the globe. Her music is deeply rooted in jazz and improvisation, but she also draws on contemporary classical and world music influences.

Dunér's voice is impressively rich, nimble, and sonorous, and her technique is exquisite. When she writes for herself, as she often does, there's a breathtaking sense that things are about to go completely off the rails. And that's the way she likes it.

"I like to write melodies that are on the border of not being able to make it, so I feel like I can crash land or I can just break out in joy, you know?" Dunér explains. "But you have to be able to know exactly where that happens and permit the technique to just explode. It’s risky, but I like risk in music."

Dunér is the artist in residence this week with Milwaukee’s contemporary music ensemble Present Music. She’ll perform two of her own compositions with the group on Thursday and Friday. Before that she and bassist John McCullough-Benner stopped by the Lake Effect studio to talk with us and perform Dunér's composition, "I've Got Something To Say."

Sophie Dunér and bassist John McCullough-Benner perform "I've Got Something to Say" in Lake Effect's Studio C.

Bonnie North
Bonnie joined WUWM in March 2006 as the Arts Producer of the locally produced weekday magazine program Lake Effect.