Dr. Melvin Unger became Fredonia’s School of Music Director on July 1.
Dr. Unger previously served as director of the Riemenschneider Bach Institute at Baldwin Wallace University in Cleveland, Ohio. He has been part of Baldwin Wallace’s highly regarded Conservatory of Music since 1998. Throughout this span he has led the Bach Institute, whose mission is to preserve and enhance the university’s distinctive and internationally recognized tradition of cultivating the music of J. S. Bach, and to provide students with exemplary models of musicological research and scholarly resources needed for their academic development.
At Fredonia, Unger will oversee a total enrollment of approximately 600 undergraduate and graduate students, as well as more than 100 faculty and staff in the School of Music.
In addition to his leadership at Baldwin Wallace, in 2012–2013, as a Fellow with the Emerging Leaders Program of the American Council on Education, Unger worked at Roosevelt University in Chicago, assisting with the university’s strategic planning process.
Highlights of Unger’s conducting experience include leading the all-male Singers’ Club of Cleveland (founded in 1892) since 2001, and the 80-member Baldwin Wallace Singers, which he founded, from 1999 to 2011.
In addition to his administrative and teaching work, Unger has authored five books as well as numerous first editions, articles and book chapters. He has also delivered presentations at a variety of professional conferences, workshops and festivals in North America and Europe.
Prior to joining Baldwin Wallace, Unger led the music department of North American Baptist College in Edmonton, Alberta, from 1980 to 1998. He also served as a Visiting Professor at the University of Hawaii-Hilo from 1996 to 1997. He began his career as a music teacher in the Toronto Public School System in 1975.
Unger is a recipient of the American Bach Society’s William H. Scheide Fellowship, two American Choral Directors Association Research Awards and the Association of Canadian Choral Conductors Book Award. He is a member of the advisory board of the American Bach Society.
“Dr. Unger brings a wealth of educational, professional and administrative experience to this key position at Fredonia,” said Dean Ralph Blasting of Fredonia’s College of Visual and Performing Arts. “He has inspirational ideas and solid experience in planning and management. I am confident that he will continue our tradition of excellence, and am very excited about working with him.”
Unger earned a doctoral degree in Musical Arts (Choral Music) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He also holds a Master of Music (Choral Conducting) from the University of Oregon, as well as a Bachelor of Music (Choral Music Education) with minors in German and English from the University of Saskatchewan.