Music Director of four American orchestras and a sought-after guest conductor, Michael Butterman is acclaimed for his creative artistry and innovative programming. Foundational to his dynamic career is a deep commitment to audience development and community engagement. He is the Music Director of the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra, which he has led to national prominence, resulting in an invitation to open the Kennedy Center’s inaugural SHIFT Festival of American Orchestras in 2017, as well as the Shreveport Symphony, which has experienced an unprecedented era of artistic growth under his leadership. Beginning with the 2022-2023 season, Mr. Butterman assumes the role of Music Director of the Williamsburg Symphony and Lancaster Symphony orchestras, as well.
As a guest conductor, Mr. Butterman has led many of the country’s preeminent ensembles,
including the Cleveland Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, National Symphony, Detroit
Symphony and Houston Symphony. Other recent appearances include performances with the
Fort Worth Symphony, Colorado Symphony, Oregon Symphony, Phoenix Symphony, Kansas
City Symphony, Charleston Symphony, Hartford Symphony, San Antonio Symphony, Syracuse
Symphony, New Mexico Symphony, Santa Fe Symphony, California Symphony, Louisiana
Philharmonic, Spokane Symphony, El Paso Symphony, Mobile Symphony, Winston-Salem
Symphony, Pensacola Opera, Asheville Lyric Opera and Victoria Symphony (British Columbia).
Summer appearances include Tanglewood, the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, Colorado
Music Festival, and the Wintergreen Music Festival in Virginia. Guest appearances this season
include Cuba’s renowned Havana Chamber Orchestra, in collaboration with pianist/composer
A passionate advocate for music education, Mr. Butterman was the founding Music Director of
the Pennsylvania Philharmonic, and recently completed a 19-year association with the
Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra as its Principal Conductor for Education and Community
Engagement. Concurrently he enjoyed a 15-year tenure with the Jacksonville Symphony, first as
Associate, and then as Resident Conductor.
Mr. Butterman gained international attention as a diploma laureate in the Prokofiev International
Conducting Competition and as a finalist in the prestigious Besançon International Conducting
Competition. As the recipient of the Seiji Ozawa Fellowship, he studied at Tanglewood with
Robert Spano, Jorma Panula, and Maestro Ozawa, with whom he shared the podium to lead
the season’s opening concert. Earlier, Mr. Butterman was sponsored by UNESCO to lead the
National Philharmonic Orchestra of Moldova in a concert of music by great American masters.
For six seasons, Mr. Butterman served as Music Director of Opera Southwest in Albuquerque,
NM. During much of that time, he was also Director of Orchestral Studies at the LSU School of
Music and was Principal Conductor of the LSU Opera Theater. Previously, he held the post of
Associate Conductor of the Columbus Pro Musica Orchestra, and served as Music Director of
the Chamber Opera, Studio Opera, and Opera Workshop at the Indiana University School of
Music. As its Associate Music Director, he led the Ohio Light Opera through two festivals,
conducting over 35 performances each summer.
At Indiana University, Mr. Butterman conducted a highly acclaimed production of Leonard
Bernstein’s little-known 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in a series of performances at the Kennedy
Center in Washington, DC, receiving unanimous praise from such publications as The New York
Times, Washington Post, Variety, and USA Today. He was subsequently invited to New York at
the request of the Bernstein estate to prepare a performance of a revised version of the work.
Michael Butterman’s work has been featured in more than a dozen nationwide broadcasts on
public radio’s Performance Today. He can be heard on two CDs recorded for the Newport
Classics label and on an album in which he conducts the Rochester Philharmonic and
collaborates with actor John Lithgow.