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  • BW Baldwin Wallace College

Faculty Spotlights

Melvin Unger

student photo
  1. Department

    Conservatory of Music

  2. Biography

    Melvin Unger holds the Riemenschneider Chair in Music at Baldwin Wallace University, where he serves as director of the Riemenschneider Bach Institute and founding conductor of the BW Singers. Since 2001 he has been artistic director of the Singers' Club of Cleveland, a male chorus serving the greater Cleveland metropolitan area since 1891.

    Dr. Unger came to Baldwin Wallace University in 1998 from Edmonton, Canada, where he was active as a college and community choral conductor. For eighteen years he served as music director of the Edmonton Da Camera Singers. His academic degrees include a D.M.A. in choral music from University of Illinois (where he was a University fellow), a M. Mus. degree in choral conducting from the University of Oregon (home of the Oregon Bach Festival), and a B. Mus. degree in choral music education from the University of Saskatchewan (Canada). He was one of the first North American conductors to study with Bach specialist, Helmuth Rilling, at the Hochschule f'r Musik und darstellende Kunst in Frankfurt, while on a scholarship from the German government. His ensembles have appeared at national and international conventions and festivals, including the Classical Music Seminar-Festival in Austria, where his choir served as principal chorus-in-residence, an honor that included a performance of Vierne's Messe solennelle at St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna. His North American appearances have taken him to twenty-four states and provinces.

    Dr. Unger has published numerous scholarly articles, several critical music editions, and five books on choral-related topics. He recently completed a Historical Dictionary of Choral Music for Scarecrow Press. He is a recipient of the American Bach Society's William H. Scheide Fellowship (1996), two American Choral Directors Association's Research Awards (1991, 1997), and the Association of Canadian Choral Conductors' 1998 Book Award.

Questions and answers

Why did you choose to teach at BW?

I was offered the Riemenscneider Chair in Music and the position of Director of the Riemenschneider Bach Institute.

What characteristics distinguish BW from other colleges/universities?

A truly caring and hard-working faculty and staff.

How do you mentor students?

By example, in teaching, scholarship, and performance, and by personal interaction through assistantships, apprenticeships, and informal conversations.

What do students like best about your class?

I think perhaps clarity of presentation and expectations, succinct content, and a caring approach to student learning.

If you weren't teaching what would you be doing?

I have a hard time imaginging myself doing anything else.