Michael Unterman, a cellist born and raised in Vancouver, BC, is a recent addition to Tafelmusik’s roster, joining the orchestra in January of 2023. Having spent the better part of 20 years studying and working in the Northeast US, he is overjoyed to be back north of the border and playing with this phenomenal ensemble! Michael is also a core member of the string chamber orchestra A Far Cry and serves as principal cellist of Boston Baroque, earning Grammy nominations with both groups in 2019. Of late he has performed and recorded with ensembles including Arion Baroque Orchestra, the Cramer Quartet, Ensemble Caprice, the Knights, Ruckus, and the Thirteen, and has enjoyed past stints as a member of the Portland Baroque Orchestra and as Artistic Director of Five Boroughs Music Festival, where he worked to present chamber music in venues across New York City. Behind-the-scenes work has been an important part of Michael’s musical life, having undertaken roles in fundraising, artistic planning, and curation for 5BMF and A Far Cry, and leading to programs that have been praised as “just the kind of imaginative artistic agenda that more groups should be prodded to try” (The Boston Globe), and “gorgeous and remarkably unified” (Washington Post).
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, where he studied with Lluis Claret and Quartetto Casals. His early mentors and musical role models include his longtime cello teacher Judy Fraser, his quartet coach violinist 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 instilled an enduring drive to bring about and preserve nurturing spaces for music and musicians.
Photo credit: Danielle Cho