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Jay Ungar

Biography

Born: November 14, 1946   Country: USA   Period: 20th/21st Centuries
Best known for his composition, "Ashokan Farewell," the Grammy-winning and Emmy-nominated theme song of Ken Burns' PBS documentary series, The Civil War, Jay Ungar has performed and recorded with mid-60s rock band, Cat Mother and the All Night Newsboys, the Putnam String County Band, Fiddle Fever, The David Bromberg Band and in duos with his wife, Molly Mason, and his ex-wife, Lyn Hardy. The founder of the Fiddle & Dance Workshop at Ashokan, a Read more Catskill Mountain camp, in 1980, Ungar has spearheaded the revival in traditional string band music and dance.

The son of immigrant parents, Ungar grew up listening to traditional Hungarian and Macedonian music. Starting violin lessons at the age of seven, Ungar was soon playing by ear and writing his own melodies. While attending the High School of Music And Art, he was introduced, by friends, to bluegrass and traditional folk music.

In the early '60s, Ungar traveled to North Carolina and Tennessee in search of old timey folk musicians. Upon his return, he became involved with the roots music community in Greenwich Village. A founding member of Cat Mother and the All Night Newsboys, Ungar temporarily left the band before they recorded their first album which included a minor hit, "Good Old Rock and Roll," in 1969. He rejoined the group for their second album, Albion Doo-wah. In the mid-'70s, Ungar was a member of the David Bromberg Band, a group dubbed, "The World's first folk orchestra." Between 1980 and 1984, Ungar played with Fiddle Fever, an eclectic string band that also included fiddler Matt Glaser, fiddle and viola player Evan Stover, acoustic guitarist Russ Barenberg and acoustic bassist Molly Mason. Although he worked in a duo with his then-wife Lyn Hardy, following Fiddle Fever's disbanding, the marriage fell apart with Ungar going on to work in a duo with Mason. Ungar and Mason were married in 1991.

In addition to his work on soundtrack of Ken Burns' Civil War documentary, Ungar has composed and performed on the soundtracks of Burns' documentaries including Baseball, The West, Thomas Jefferson and Lewis & Clark. Ungar's fiddling was also heard on the soundtracks of films, Brother's Keeper and Legends of the Fall. Ungar and Mason have made numerous appearances on Garrison Keillor's National Public Radio show, A Prairie Home Companion. In 1992, Ungar and Mason accompanied vocalist Thomas Hampson on an album-length tribute to the songs of Stephen Foster, American Dreamer. Harvest Home: Music for All Seasons followed in 1999. Read less
Browse 1-23 of 23 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    Moc4: Mark O'connor Plays The Classics
    Label: Omac   Catalog: 20 Release Date: 06/10/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hans-Georg Nägeli,  Mark O'Connor,  Johnnie Lee Wills,  Anonymous  ... 
    Performer:  Mark O'Connor,  Tessa Lark,  Angella Ahn,  Sara Caswell  ... 
    CD: $11.99
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  • 2.
    Homeward Bound
    Label: Big Round Records   Catalog: 8930 Release Date: 10/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Marta Keen Thompson,  Aaron Copland,  Richard Gardzina,  John Lennon  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Larksong Trio
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  • 3.
    Gettysburg At 150: Music Of The American Civil War
    Label: Mark Records   Catalog: 50696 Release Date: 09/24/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jack Stamp,  Jay Dawson,  Frank Ticheli,  Herbert L. Clarke  ... 
    Performer:  Brandon Almagro,  Colin Wise
    Conductor:  Russell McCutcheon
    CD: $9.99
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  • 4.
    Prelude & Groove
    Label: Alchemy Records   Catalog: 5637905003 Release Date: 08/27/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gary Buttery,  Traditional,  Alexander Potiyenko,  George L. Cobb  ... 
    Performer:  Alchemy Quartet] [Brass
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Alchemy (Brass Quartet)
    CD: $21.99
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  • 5.
    Wonderful World / Denver Brass
    Label: Klavier Records   Catalog: K77041 Release Date: 07/31/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Andrew Wolfe,  Brian K. Pfoltner,  Jay Ungar,  Dougie MacLean  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Denver Brass
    CD: $17.99
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  • 6.
    Stillpoint / Adagio Trio
    Label: Adagio Trio   Catalog: 5637197395 Release Date: 07/26/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Traditional,  Joseph Hadar,  Abraham Kaplan  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Adagio Trio
    CD: $14.99
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  • 7.
    Celebrate America - Songs for the 4th of July
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001575202 Release Date: 06/21/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Stafford Smith,  Traditional,  Jay Ungar,  Woody Guthrie  ... 
    Conductor:  Eric Rodgers,  Frederick Fennell,  Jerold D. Ottley,  John T. Williams  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Fife & Drum of the Eastman Wind Ensemble,  Duel,  Eastman Wind Ensemble  ... 
    CD: $13.99
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  • 8.
    A Beautiful Thing / Cleo Laine
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 61664 Release Date: 01/13/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Stevie Wonder,  Donovan Leitch,  Stephen Sondheim,  George Gershwin  ... 
    Performer:  Roy Markowitz,  Cliff Morris,  Tony Hymas,  Cleo Laine  ... 
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  • 9.
    The United States Army Strings
    Label: Altissimo   Catalog: ALT61372 Release Date: 05/18/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Paul Desmond,  Jay Ungar,  John Lennon,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov  ... 
    Performer:  Marlisa Woods,  Laura Knutson,  Manuel Bobenrieth,  Emily Leader  ... 
    Conductor:  Jim Keene
    CD: $17.99
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  • 10.
    Wondrous Free - Songs Of America II / Thomas Hampson
    Label: Thomas Hampson Media   Catalog: 5432 Release Date: 09/15/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Stephen Foster,  Edward MacDowell,  Sidney Homer,  Charles Ives  ... 
    Performer:  Thomas Hampson,  Craig Rutenberg,  Wolfram Rieger
    CD: $17.99
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  • 11.
    James Galway - Celebrating 70: A Collection Of Personal Favorites
    Label: Cbs Masterworks   Catalog: 742201 Release Date: 07/28/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Albert Franz Doppler,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Elton John,  Henry Mancini  ... 
    Performer:  Phillip Moll,  Jeanne Galway,  James Galway,  Sarah Cunningham  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Gerhardt,  Vincent Fanuele,  Henry Mancini,  Sir Neville Marriner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Philharmonic Orchestra,  Galway Pops Orchestra,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields  ... 
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  • 12.
    American Classics - Foster, Griffes, Copland: Songs / Hampson, Ungar, Voight, Henricks, Zeger, Et Al
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 34479 Release Date: 11/24/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Stephen Foster,  Jay Ungar,  Charles Tomlinson Griffes,  Aaron Copland
    Performer:  Thomas Hampson,  Jay Ungar,  David Alpher,  Peter Ecklund  ... 
    Conductor:  Michael Tilson Thomas
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $12.99
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  • 13.
    Duel
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 473999 Release Date: 08/26/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sidney Bechet,  Gustav Holst,  Alexander Borodin,  Jacques Offenbach  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Duel
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 14.
    Gregory Harrington - Reflections
    Label: Cd Baby   Catalog: 5637314735 Release Date: 09/26/2006  
    Composer:  Traditional,  Vittorio Monti,  Jay Ungar
    Performer:  Gregory Harrington
    CD: $24.99
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  • 15.
    The Essential James Galway
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 80318 Release Date: 05/23/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Henry Mancini,  Elton John,  Alan Menken,  Traditional  ... 
    Performer:  James Galway
    CD: $18.99
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  • 16.
    The Strolling Strings 50th Anniversary Vol 2 / United States Air Force Band
    Label: Altissimo   Catalog: ALT61172 Release Date: 01/01/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Agustín Lara,  Louis Ferrari,  André Popp,  Walter Donaldson  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  United States Air Force Band Strolling Strings
    CD: $17.99
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  • 17.
    19th Century Salon & Concert Music / Helen Beedle
    Label: The Galop   Catalog: 5637219477 Release Date: 02/10/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Teresa Carreño,  Thomas "Blind Tom" Wiggin,  Thomas Döhler,  James Bellak  ... 
    Performer:  Helen Beedle
    CD: $18.99
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  • 18.
    Serenity - Music For Flute And Harp / Martinez-mouilleseaux
    Label: Music Pizzazz   Catalog: 5637451353 Release Date: 03/06/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Paul Simon,  Larry Henley,  Vincent Persichetti,  Charles Gounod  ... 
    Performer:  Rochele Martinez-Mouilleseaux,  Nancy Waring
    CD: $23.99
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  • 19.
    A Winter Solstice With Helicon / Norman, Kolodner, Bullock
    Label: Sono Luminus   Catalog: 90276 Release Date: 11/16/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Traditional,  John D. Hutchison,  Jay Ungar,  Rasmus Storm  ... 
    Performer:  Chris Norman,  Ken Kolodner,  Robin Bullock
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Helicon
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  • 20.
    Harvest Home - Music For All Seasons / Jay Ungar, Molly Mason
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 56720 Release Date: 09/14/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jay Ungar,  Aaron Copland,  William Stepp,  Traditional  ... 
    Performer:  Molly Mason,  Jay Ungar
    Conductor:  Paul Gambill
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nashville Chamber Orchestra
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 21.
    Waltzing with You - Music from the Film
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 66782 Release Date: 02/10/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jay Ungar,  Molly Mason,  Traditional
    Performer:  Molly Mason,  Jay Ungar,  Guy Fischetti,  Peter O'Brien
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 22.
    Palace Of The Winds - Piano At The Movies / Michael Chertock
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80477 Release Date: 07/29/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Andrew Lloyd Webber,  Cootie Williams,  Clint Eastwood,  Michel Legrand  ... 
    Performer:  Michael Chertock
    CD: $16.99
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  • 23.
    The Lovers' Waltz / Jay Ungar, Molly Mason
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 55561 Release Date: 01/28/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jay Ungar,  James Horner,  Traditional,  Molly Mason  ... 
    Performer:  Molly Mason,  Jay Ungar
    CD: $13.99
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