Making his mark as a model for today’s conductors, Michael Butterman is recognized for his commitment to creative artistry, innovative programming, and to audience and community engagement. He serves as Music Director for the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra, whom he has led to national prominence, resulting in an invitation to open the Kennedy Center’s inaugural SHIFT Festival of American Orchestras in 2017. He is also the Music Director of the Shreveport Symphony Orchestra and the Pennsylvania Philharmonic, an orchestra uniquely focused on music education. In early 2022, he was appointed Music Director of the Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra, following an extensive search spanning two seasons. Mr. Butterman recently completed a 19-year association with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra as their Principal Conductor for Education and Community Engagement, and 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. Guest appearances this season include the Lancaster and Williamsburg symphonies, and a residency at the North Carolina School of the Arts.
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 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 a new disc in which he conducts the Rochester Philharmonic and collaborates with actor John Lithgow.