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Professor of Organ and Harpsichord Michael Unger Reflects on His First Year at CCM

Assistant Professor of Keyboard (Organ and Harpsichord) Michael Unger

Originally from Toronto, multiple award-winning organist and harpsichordist Michael Unger joined the faculty of CCM's Division of Keyboard Studies as an Assistant Professor in the fall 2013.

A First Prize winner of the International Organ Competition Musashino-Tokyo, a First Prize and Audience Prize winner of the National Young Artists’ Competition of the American Guild of Organists, and a Second Prize and Audience Award winner of the International Schnitger Organ Competition on the historic organs of Alkmaar in the Netherlands, Unger calls his move to Cincinnati and his first year at CCM “an absolute joy.”

Prior to his appointment at CCM, Unger received a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the Eastman School of Music, where he studied under David Higgs and William Porter. He is a recipient of Eastman’s Performer’s Certificate in organ and Jerald C. Graue Musicology Fellowship.

Unger has received favorable international reviews for his debut solo recordings under the Naxos and Pro Organo labels: Michael Unger: Organ Recital and Universe of Poetry and his performances have been broadcast on North American and European radio.

Below, you can watch Unger perform on location at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Rochester, New York, during the recording sessions for his Pro Organo CD release in February of 2008.

Michael Unger at the organ.

“CCM is a community that is rich in talent,” he observes, adding that he is continually inspired by the amazing work of his colleagues and students. He admits that he still gets lost, both around the city and even within the CCM Village, but owes this to being distracted by the beautiful facilities!

At CCM, those state-of-the-art facilities feature a Harrison and Harrison organ in Corbett Auditorium, a Casavant tracker organ in Patricia Corbett Theater, a Dowd harpsichord in Robert J. Werner Recital Hall, a Ben Bechtel harpsichord in Watson Hall, a Bolcom and Vaughan organ in Watson Hall and a Willard Martin harpsichord in the CCM Master Classroom, in addition to smaller organs available for teaching and practice.

Living near Hyde Park, Unger says, “Awakenings Coffee is quickly turning into my second office!” He also appreciates the growing momentum of the downtown neighborhoods and has found that Cincinnati has much to offer in terms of culture, community and history. His city explorations have yielded a few great finds; he loves to see Cincinnati lit up at night from across the river in Newport.

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You can keep up with Unger and the alumni of CCM's Organ and Harpsichord programs by visiting