Michael Unger, First Prize Winner of the 2008 American Guild of Organists National Young Artists Competition in Organ Performance, plays the Halloran-All Saints organ by Paul Fritts at Sacred Heard Cathedral in Rochester, New York USA
Canadian-born organist and harpsichordist Michael Unger was awarded both First Prize (Lilian Murtagh Memorial Prize) and Audience Prize in the 2008 American Guild of Organists’ National Young Artists Competition in Organ Performance (NYACOP). Later that same year, he won First Prize in the Sixth International Organ Competition Musashino-Tokyo, Japan, a prize which included the Yoshida Minoru Memoral Award, Toyota Mayor’s Award and Tokorozawa MUSE Award. In 2009, he was awarded Second Prize (Flentrop Orgelbouw Prize) and Audience Award (Izaäk Kingma Prize) in the Eighth International Schnitger Organ Competition on the historic organs of Alkmaar, the Netherlands, the first ever North American prize winner in the competition’s history. He is the recipient of numerous other awards, including two of Canada’s top scholarships for the study of organ and church music, the Lilian Forsyth and Godfrey Hewitt Memorial Scholarships, both awarded in Ottawa in 2007.
Unger completed masters’ degrees in both organ and harpsichord at the Eastman School of Music as a student and teaching assistant of David Higgs and William Porter. In 2007, he was awarded Eastman’s Jerald C. Graue Musicology Fellowship., and at present he is completing doctoral studies at the same institution. Previously, he completed undergraduate studies at the University of Western Ontario, where he was a graduating recipient of the University Gold Medal. Previous teachers include Ethel Briggs, Sandra Mangsen, Joel Speerstra and the late Larry Cortner, in addition to European summer academies specializing in historical keyboard performance.
Unger performs frequently as a soloist and chamber musician on both organ and harpsichord, and is also a teacher and published composer. Formerly the organist of New St. James Presbyterian Church in London, Ontario, he is currently the organist and music director of South Presbyterian Church in Rochester, New York.
Sacred Heart Cathedral, Rochester, New York USA WEBSITE
12pp book, traycard, jewelbox
Choir and Organ 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. ... The organ's chameleon-like charm is utterly remarkable ... - Chris Bragg
The American Record Guide In the entire program, Unger demonstrates his complete command and sensitivity. - Metz, Jul/Aug 2010