A man with a beard playing a cello, focusing intently on his instrument, indoors with natural light streaming in.

Michael Unterman

​Michael Unterman enjoys a varied musical career as a chamber musician, orchestral cellist, and concert producer. He is newly a core member and co-principal cellist of Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra in Toronto and continues to be a member of the self-directed string chamber orchestra A Far Cry and principal cellist of Boston Baroque. He is also the Artistic Director of Five Boroughs Music Festival, a chamber music series that presents concerts in venues throughout the five boroughs of New York City.

Michael cut his teeth in concert programming and production through his work with A Far Cry whose members act as co-artistic directors; as a frequent curator and production lead, his projects have been praised as “just the kind of imaginative artistic agenda that more groups should be prodded to try” (The Boston Globe), “the way good programming should proceed” (Arts Fuse), and “gorgeous and remarkably unified” (Washington Post). His work with 5BMF has included several monthly picks by the New York Times, the NYC premieres of Castle of our Skins and Kaleidoscope Vocal Ensemble, Volume III of the Five Borough Songbook (a songwriting project comprised of 15 new commissions), and the production of concert films including the Argus Quartet’s noise/SILENCE and Terra Novaa co-commission written by and for Oracle Hysterical with Hub New Music.

Michael has received critical praise for his “soulful and sultry solos,” “nuanced, sensitive, and wholly gorgeous collaboration” (Classical Scene), and “heroic continuo” (Parterre Box). He’s performed on Grammy nominated albums with both A Far Cry and Boston Baroque and is featured on the recent world premiere recordings of The Blue Hour (one of NPR’s Top 10 Albums of 2022) and Mehmet Sanlikol’s The Gentleman of Istanbul with A Far Cry, Scott Ordway’s The Outer Edge of Youth with the Thirteen, and James’s Kallembach’s Antigone with Lorelei Ensemble. Other recent projects include concert sets and recordings with Arion Baroque Orchestra, Bach Akademie Charlotte, Ensemble Caprice, the Knights, Portland Baroque Orchestra, Ruckus, and the Staunton Music Festival.

Michael studied at the New England Conservatory and The Juilliard School with Laurence Lesser, Natasha Brofsky, and Phoebe Carrai, and was a Fulbright Scholar to Barcelona, Spain, studying with Lluis Claret and the Quartetto Casals. His early mentors and musical role models include his longtime cello teacher Judy Fraser, quartet coach Heilwig von Koenigslow, his mother and pianist-collaborator Kathy Bjorseth, as well as Tom and Isobel Rolston, the former directors of the Banff Centre, all of whom instilled an enduring motivation to participate in and bring about nurturing environments for music and musicians.