|Canadian-born organist and harpsichordist Michael Unger currently resides in Rochester, New York. A multiple-award winning performer, he has appeared in recital as a soloist and chamber musician in North America, Europe and Japan. In 2008, he was awarded both First Prize and Audience Prize in the American Guild of Organists’ National Young Artists Competition in Organ Performance (NYACOP). Later that same year, he won First Prize and the Yoshida Minoru Memorial Award in the Sixth International Organ Competition Musashino-Tokyo, Japan, and in 2009, he was awarded Second Prize and Audience Award in the Eighth International Schnitger Organ Competition on the historic organs of Alkmaar, the Netherlands. Other awards include two of Canada’s top scholarships for the study of organ and church music, the Lilian Forsyth and Godfrey Hewitt Memorial Scholarships, both awarded in Ottawa in 2007. His debut solo compact disc recordings on the Naxos and Pro Organo lables have received favorable international reviews, and his performances have been broadcast on radio in the United States, Canada and Germany.
Unger completed masters’ degrees in both organ and harpsichord at the Eastman School of Music as a student and teaching assistant of David Higgs and William Porter. He is a recipient of the school’s Performer’s Certificate in organ, the Jerald C. Graue Musicology Fellowship, and he currently co-instructs Eastman’s organ literature classes. He completed undergraduate studies at the University of Western Ontario, where he was a graduating recipient of the University Gold Medal. Former teachers include Ethel Briggs, Sandra Mangsen, Joel Speerstra and the late Larry Cortner, in addition to European summer academies specializing in historical keyboard performance. He is a published composer, and has worked as the Director of Music of Rochester’s Lutheran Church of the Incarnate Word since October 2009.
Selected Press Notices
Toronto, ON, Canada
Palm Beach, FL
Ganderkesee, Niedersachsen, Germany
”The musicians [in the audience] seemed to savor every note in peace and confidence.”
Review of Final Rround of 2009 International Schnitger Organ Competition
(Alkmaar, the Netheralnds)
Reviews of Universe of Poetry (Pro Organo, released 2009)
“Michael Unger, a former prize-winner at both the AGO and Alkmaar competitions, provides highly intelligent performances of the wide variety of repertoire on his disc. His versatility is matched by a new organ of supreme quality.”
“In the entire program, Unger demonstrates his complete command and sensitivity.”
“The performances on this disc convey a sense of fun and love for the music...”
Reviews of Michael Unger: Organ Recital (Naxos, released 2009)
“The recital program is a nice collection of pieces, well related to each other... As one would expect of such a prize winner, the performance is stellar.”
“Unger exploits the organ’s potential for colouristic effect and presents Messiaen with unreserved energy and brightness.”