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Jay Ungar

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Jay Ungar is an American musician and composer born in New York City, the son of immigrant parents from Eastern Europe. He frequented Greenwich Village music venues during his formative period, and was a founder member of Cat Mother and the all-night newsboys & the Putnam String County Band. Although he has often played with David Bromberg, he is probably best known for “Ashokan Farewell”, originally composed as a waltz which was played at his “Fiddle & Dance” music camp, located at the SUNY New Paltz Ashokan Field Campus, which was used as the theme tune to Ken Burns documentary, The Civil War. The tune became so popular that it won a Grammy award.

In 1991, Ungar married fellow musician Molly Mason, whom he had first met during the 1970s, and they continue to perform together, with their band, Swingology, and occasionally Jay’s daughter Ruth Ungar (her mother is Lyn Hardy) and her band The Mammals. Jay Ungar, Molly Mason, Ruth Ungar and Michael Merenda also perform together as the Jay Ungar and Molly Mason Family Band.

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