Michael Unterman, historical cello

Michael Unterman enjoys an active performing career on both modern and baroque cellos. He is a core member of the self-directed string chamber orchestra A Far Cry and serves as principal cellist of Boston Baroque, earning Grammy nominations with both groups in 2019. He is also the Artistic Director of Five Boroughs Music Festival, a chamber music series presenting 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).

As a cellist enjoying a wide variety 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” (Parterre Box). Other recent and upcoming performances include concert sets with Arion Baroque Orchestra, Bach Akademie Charlotte, Ensemble Caprice, the Knights, Portland Baroque Orchestra, Ruckus, Tafelmusik, the Thirteen, and at the Birdfoot Chamber Music Festival in New Orleans and Staunton Music Festival in Virginia.

He 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 in 2008-09, 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, and Tom and Isobel Rolston, the former directors of the Banff Centre, all of whom helped create a stimulating artistic environment to grow up in and instilled an enduring motivation to create nurturing environments for music and musicians.