As a guest conductor, Mr. Butterman made his debut with the Cleveland Orchestra in the spring of 2012, and was immediately reengaged for two concerts the following season. Other recent engagements include appearances with the Detroit Symphony, Houston Symphony, Colorado Symphony, Oregon Symphony, Kansas City Symphony, Hartford Symphony, San Antonio Symphony, Syracuse Symphony, New Mexico Symphony, California Symphony, Louisiana Philharmonic, Spokane Symphony, El Paso Symphony, Santa Fe Symphony, Mobile Symphony, Peoria Symphony, Winston-Salem Symphony, Pensacola Opera and Asheville Lyric Opera. Summer appearances include Tanglewood, the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival in Colorado and the Wintergreen Music Festival in Virginia. In the 13-14 season, he will make his debut with the Charleston Symphony.
Michael 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 1999 recipient of the Seiji Ozawa Fellowship, he studied at Tanglewood with Robert Spano, Jorma Panula, and Maestro Ozawa, and shared the podium with Ozawa to lead the season's opening concert. In 1997, Mr. Butterman was sponsored by UNESCO to lead the National Philharmonic Orchestra of Moldova in a concert of music by great American masters.
From 2000 to 2007, Mr. Butterman held the post of Associate Conductor for the Jacksonville Symphony in Florida. For six seasons, he also served as Music Director of Opera Southwest in Albuquerque, NM. Prior to joining the Jacksonville Symphony, Mr. Butterman was Director of Orchestral Studies at the LSU School of Music for five years, 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. For two seasons, he was also the Associate Music Director of the Ohio Light Opera, 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 five nationwide broadcasts on public radio's Performance Today, and 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.
"The musical direction, by Michael Butterman, is loving - an embrace of Bernstein's neglected score."
"Michael Butterman conducted with vitality and affection."
Cleveland Plain Dealer
"In the prelude to Wagner's "Meistersinger," the orchestra's brass section began the evening auspiciously with a robust but not overpowering sound. It would be the first of many great moments for the brass...(of Brahms' Hungarian Dances) Butterman found ways to make them feel fresh and exciting, with crisp and precise playing from the whole ensemble...(of Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet) Butterman's choices and ordering reflected the dramatic structure of the ballet and was highly effective. The orchestra retained its fine form throughout this expressive and colorful music."
Boulder Daily Camera
"...the amiable young maestro and two stars - clarinetist Richard Stoltzman and composer Bill Douglas - packed the 2,000-seat house. The philharmonic's subscription rate is at a five-year high, and one secret to the uptick might be that, while Butterman's baton evokes quality musicianship from the orchestra, they don't take themselves too seriously. There is a lightness of being and joy of performing among the players that make the whole concert experience what it should be: engaging and entertaining."
The Denver Post
"Butterman gave an energetic account of the score, conducting the RPO with a hyper-emotional intensity that brought out all the glory and grandeur of Tchaikovsky"
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
"...he has made significant improvements in the Boulder Philharmonic orchestra, and he has implemented some very creative programming... he is a superior musician.
"Butterman... is an elegant figure, the master of gestures as graceful as they are meaningful. His instructions are precise. He evokes, rather than giving commands, and in all sections of the ensemble, Phil members played their hearts out for him."
Boulder Daily Camera
"Butterman made Prokofiev's playful reflection of the age of Haydn the high point of the evening. The score has such effervescent energy that a conductor easily can let himself run away with the work - or allow it to run away with him. But Butterman showed himself a classicist in his careful control of the performance and his respect for the transparent clarity of the work, and he made the lusty melody of the larghetto a meltdown so hot that it suggested Prokofiev, and not auto emissions, is responsible for global warming."
Boulder Daily Camera