The Inevitable Rise of Folk Classical: Amberlight’s Popular YouTube Composer Janet Dunbar Teams Up with Brandenburg Orchestra on New Release

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Representative of the rise of folk classical, a musical project between Brandenburgisches Staatsorchester in former East Germany and popular YouTube classical composer Janet Dunbar was released on iTunes worldwide on May 24th ahead of Memorial Day weekend.

Cover art for Episodes for Orchestra by Janet Dunbar (HQ)

Episodes for Orchestra by Janet Dunbar; performed by Brandenburgisches Staatsorchester -- Now released.

The driving, rhythmical phrase which permeates the contrapuntal texture of this composition drew me into your sonic world-kudos for creating such a joyful composition; I applaud your efforts to make classical music more accessible to a wider audience. -RG

Representative of the rise of folk classical, a musical project between Brandenburgisches Staatsorchester in former East Germany and popular YouTube classical composer Janet Dunbar was released on iTunes worldwide on May 24th ahead of Memorial Day weekend.

Why is the rise of folk classical inevitable? Because the pendulum can swing only so far before it swings back. Classic styles come and go, but just when you think you will never hear about one again, there it is suddenly back in fashion…

Why is Dunbar’s music finding a warm reception in former communist countries? Countries under communism never lost the connection between classical music and the music of the people. Modern classical music of the west was sometimes viewed as an embarrassing manifestation of western decadence. Quite naturally orchestras in former communist countries have shown significant interest in popular classical composer Janet Dunbar’s compositions. In the former East Germany, for example, The Brandenburgisches Staatsorchester chose to record Dunbar’s Episodes for Orchestra last fall; that recording is now available on iTunes.

Dunbar has been working with orchestras in Eastern Europe for several years now with premieres and recordings of melodic and rhythmic classical music in the style she dubs “The New Elegant Simplicity” in her web manifesto of the same name. While Dunbar’s music sounds folk-like, the melodies and countermelodies are newly composed and, due to rhythmic and contrapuntal complexity, are engaging and challenging to play. The composer explains, “I write more engaging melodic parts for all the players, not just those in the highest registers. My pieces also feature the deeper and middle range instruments; the players appreciate being in the limelight and participating in the excitement of the melodies, countermelodies and rhythms. Thus the full sonic palette of the orchestra better communicates the passion in the music. These varied emotions let listeners know that their feelings are shared by others.”

Not surprisingly, the composer’s music has struck a chord with YouTube listeners as expressed in these comments:

Schtolzer:
Unbelievable!!! What a nice and emotional music. From heaven. God be with you blessed composer and arranger. WOW!!! WOW

5686mr:
En verdad esta composición de la música clásica es para todos!!!

Rich Graham:
The driving, rhythmical phrase which permeates the contrapuntal texture of this composition drew me into your sonic world - kudos for creating such a joyful composition; I applaud your efforts to make classical music more accessible to a wider audience!

Dr. Janet Dunbar holds a doctor of musical arts in composition from Stanford University and a master of arts in music from San Jose State University. Recent performances of her works include the following: Double premiere of Episodes and Emergence for Orchestra, Ukraine, 2011; World premiere of Déjà Vu for Orchestra, Ukraine, 2010; Double premiere of two works for orchestra, Vision and Epiphany, Ukraine, 2009. Her critically acclaimed full length CD, Spirit Journey, was released in 1999 on the Amberlight label.

The upcoming release of the animation for Episodes is to be announced later this year. For more information, contact:

Richard Holmes
817-403-0927
Amberlight Productions

To learn more, visit janetdunbar.com. To experience Dunbar’s music videos, visit her YouTube channel. To hear samples of the music, visit Dunbar's iTunes page.

Episodes for Orchestra was composed by Janet Dunbar, performed by Brandenburgisches Staatsorchester and conducted by Bernd Ruf. Dynamedion did the music production and session management and GENUIN Musikproduktion did the recording, editing and post-production.

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