Michael Unger
Canadian-born organist and harpsichordist Michael Unger is Assistant Professor of Organ and Harpsichord at the College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati. A multiple award-winning performer, he appears as a soloist and chamber musician in North America, Europe and Japan. He is a First Prize winner of the International Organ Competition Musashino-Tokyo, a First Prize and Audience Prize winner of the National Young Artists’ Competition of the American Guild of Organsits (NYACOP), and a Second Prize and Audience Award winner of the International Schnitger Organ Competition on the historic organs of Alkmaar, the Netherlands. Featured solo recitals include performances for the national convention of the American Guild of Organists, Boulder Bach Festival, Internationale Orgelwoche Nürnberg – Musica Sacra, and numerous international and regional recital series. Recent harpsichord performances include the Skaneateles Chamber Music Festival, appearances with Publick Musick and New York State Baroque, and collaborations as part of conventions for the International Viola Society and International Society of Bassists. He received favorable international reviews for his debut solo recordings under the Naxos and Pro Organo labels: Michael Unger: Organ Recital (recorded in Japan) and Universe of Poetry (recorded in Rochester, NY). His performances have been broadcast on North American and European radio, in addition to syndicated programs Pipedreams and With Heart and Voice.
 
Unger holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the Eastman School of Music, where he studied under David Higgs and William Porter, and was a recipient of Eastman’s Performer’s Certificate and the Jerald C. Graue Musicology Fellowship. He is a Gold Medal graduate of the University of Western Ontario, and his former teachers include Ethel Briggs, Sandra Mangsen, Joel Speersta, and the late Larry Cortner. He is formerly the Director of Music at Rochester’s Lutheran Church of the Incarnate Word, and is a published composer of choral music.
 
Michael Unger’s personal website: www.ungermichael.com

E-mail: michaelunger@hotmail.com

Selected Press Notices

Toronto, ON, Canada
“Bravo for... his display of virtuoso and musical playing. [Michael Unger] will be a performer of note for many years to come!”
Organ Canada, July 2010

Palm Beach, FL
“[Michael Unger] proved to be a marvelous player, with fleet fingers and feet, a willingness to apply wide dynamic range in the sanctuary, and a strong, puckish sense of programming.”
Palm Beach Artspaper, November 2008

Ganderkesee, Niedersachsen, Germany
“The dancing vigor of the fugue [from Bach’s BWV 564] was controlled, and at parts throughout its performance, there were breathtaking moments of the evening in the exalted intensity of its sound... In the program’s cantus-firmus works (Scheidemann, Sweelinck, Böhm) were found the flexibility of Unger’s melodic approach, its subtle breaks and short-term sensitive-breathing tempo, and his well-shaped articulation hailing from a highly-rhetorical organization.”
“Die Fuge war kontrolliert in ihrem tänzerischen Elan, es gab in ihr Durchführungspartien, die in ihrer exaltierten Klangintensität zu den atemberaubenden Momenten des Abends wurden... In den cantus-firmus-gebundenen Werken des Programms (Scheidemann, Sweelinck, Böhm) waren die genannte Biegsamkeit von Ungers Melodiegestaltung, seine feinen Zäsuren und sensibel-atmenden Tempogestaltung im Kleinen, seine wohlausgeformte Artikulation Grundlage einer äußerst sprechenden Gestaltung.”
Weser Kurier, October 2011

”The musicians [in the audience] seemed to savor every note in peace and confidence.”
”Der Musiker schien jeden Ton in Ruhe und Souveränität auszukosten.”
Nordwest Zeitung Online
, October 2011

Review of Final Rround of 2009 International Schnitger Organ Competition

(Alkmaar, the Netheralnds)
“All three [finalists] respond with individual musicality to the challenge of the final round, but there’s a clear winner of this round, whose interpretation, technical ability and strength of communication are unequivocal. Canadian Michael Unger delivers by far the most convincing performance of the evening and wins [2nd prize and] the audience prize.”
Choir and Organ Magazine, September/October 2009

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.”
Choir and Organ Magazine, July/August 2010

“In the entire program, Unger demonstrates his complete command and sensitivity.”
The American Record Guide, July/August 2010

“The performances on this disc convey a sense of fun and love for the music...”
The WholeNote Magazine, January 2010

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.”
The Tracker, Spring 2010

“Unger exploits the organ’s potential for colouristic effect and presents Messiaen with unreserved energy and brightness.”
The WholeNote Magazine, January 2010