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. Starting this past season, Mr. Butterman assumed the role of Music Director of the Williamsburg Symphony and Lancaster Symphony orchestras, as well. 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 their 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.
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. This season, he returns for a second time to conduct Cuba’s renowned Havana Chamber Orchestra, in collaboration with pianist/composer Aldo López-Gavilán.
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.
Photo by Molly Schlachter