Jay Ungar

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Jay Ungar
BornNovember 14, 1946
The Bronx, New York City, United States

Jay Ungar (born November 14, 1946) is an American folk musician and composer.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Ungar was born in the Bronx (New York City).[2] He frequented Greenwich Village music venues during his formative period in the 1960s. In the late 1960s, he became a member of Cat Mother and the All Night News Boys and later, the Putnam String County Band. Although he performs with David Bromberg, he is probably best known for "Ashokan Farewell" (1982), composed as a lament,[3] and used as the theme tune to the Ken Burns documentary The Civil War (1990). Many of his other compositions are familiar as contradance tunes, notably "The Wizard's Walk."

In 1991, Ungar married fellow musician Molly Mason. They met during the 1970s. They continue to perform as a duo, with their band, Swingology, and as the Jay Ungar and Molly Mason Family Band with Jay's daughter Ruth Ungar (her mother is Lyn Hardy) and Ruthy's husband Michael Merenda.

In 1992, Ungar and Mason provided the soundtrack to the acclaimed documentary film Brother's Keeper, released as a music CD entitled Waltzing with You (1998). In 2006, the duo headlined the Northwest Folklife Festival in Seattle.


  1. ^ "Jay Ungar". AllMovie Database. 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-28.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-02-11.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ In the composer's words, "Ashokan Farewell was written in the style of a Scottish lament." Archived 2011-02-12 at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]