Michael Unterman enjoys a busy performing career on both modern and baroque cellos. He is a member of the self-directed string chamber orchestra A Far Cry and serves as principal cellist of the period ensemble Boston Baroque, earning Grammy nominations with both groups in 2019. Michael also performs with the Handel and Haydn Society, the new music ensemble NOVUS, and has recently taken part in the Birdfoot and Staunton Music Festivals. As a cellist who delights all types of musical roles, Michael has received critical praise for his “soulful and sultry solos,” “nuanced, sensitive, and wholly gorgeous collaboration” (Classical Scene), and “heroic continuo” accompaniment (Parterre Box).
Michael is also actively involved in the behind-the-scenes work of arts administration. A compulsive assembler of concert programs, his creations for A Far Cry have been singled out by critics as “just the kind of imaginative artistic agenda that more groups should be prodded to try” (Boston Globe) and “the way good programing should proceed” (Arts Fuse). He has also served as A Far Cry’s Programming Coordinator and acts frequently as an ambassador for the group, leading community events, writing about the group’s programming, and assisting in fundraising efforts; in four years as the organization’s principal grant writer, he helped raise over $1 million in institutional support. This year, he is proud to join the Birdfoot Festival team as its General Manager.
Underpinning this support work is a motivation to create nurturing environments for music and musicians, something instilled by his earliest mentors, including his cello teacher Judy Fraser, quartet coach Heilwig von Koenigslow, his mother, pianist Kathy Bjorseth, and Tom and Isobel Rolston, former directors of the Banff Centre where Michael spent many a formative week. Subsequently, he earned degrees in cello from the New England Conservatory and Juilliard’s Historical Performance program, studying with Laurence Lesser, Natasha Brofsky, and Phoebe Carrai. He was also a Fulbright Scholar to Barcelona, Spain in 2008, where he studied with Lluis Claret.