Dr. Melvin Unger

Dr. Melvin Unger
Dr. Melvin Unger
Professor (Director (Chair))
Area: Administration & Staff, Major Ensemble Directors
Mason Hall 1138

Doctor of Musical Arts, University of Illinois

Before assuming the position of Director of the School of Music, Melvin Unger held the Riemenschneider Chair in Music at Baldwin Wallace University, where he served as Director of the Riemenschneider Bach Institute and Editor-in-Chief of the Institute’s journal BACH.

In 2012–2013, as a Fellow with the Emerging Leaders Program of the American Council on Education, Dr. Unger worked at Roosevelt University (Chicago) in the university’s strategic planning process, alongside consultants from Penson Associates and Noel Levitz. During the year he also met with leaders of more than 20 institutions of higher education and completed certification with the Society of College and University Planning (SCUP).

Dr. Unger holds degrees in choral music from the Universities of Illinois, Oregon, and Saskatchewan. He studied with Bach specialist Helmuth Rilling at the Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Frankfurt under the auspices of the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst. From 1981 to 1998 he conducted the Da Camera Singers of Edmonton, Canada; more recently he served as music director of the Singers’ Club of Cleveland (a male chorus, 2001–2015). He has collaborated with a diverse array of composers, soloists, conductors, ensembles, and theatrical directors, among them, Grammy-award winning composers William Bolcom and Chen Yi, Grammy-award winning bass-baritone Mark Doss, Heldentenor Timothy Mussard (winner of the 2009 Prix Lauritz Melchior Award), the Alberta Baroque Ensemble, the Cleveland Women’s Orchestra, the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra, and Canadian jazz legend, Tommy Banks. His ensembles have appeared at numerous national and international conventions and festivals, including the Toronto International Choral Festival and the Classical Music Seminar-Festival in Austria; North American appearances have taken him to twenty-four states and provinces.

Dr. Unger’s publications include numerous scholarly articles, several critical music editions, and five books, the most recent being Historical Dictionary of Choral Music (Scarecrow Press, 2010). He is a recipient of the Gigax Faculty Scholarship Award at Baldwin Wallace University (2015), the American Bach Society’s William H. Scheide Fellowship (1996), two American Choral Directors Association’s Awards (1991, 1997), and the Association of Canadian Choral Conductors’ 1998 Book Award.

Personal Website

Teaching Interests

Choir; Choral Techniques, Baroque Music History

Research Interests

J. S. Bach and his Contemporaries


  • Level III certification, integrated planning in higher education
  • Professional “A” Teacher’s Certificate

Awards and Honors

  • Gigax Faculty Scholarship Award, 2015
  • Gund Award, 2015-12-31
  • Summer Research Award, 2014
  • Fellowship, American Council on Higher Education, 2012
  • Gund Award for Faculty-Student Collaborative Research, 2011-12-31
  • Summer Research Award, 2010
  • Gund Award for Faculty-Student Collaborative Research, 2009
  • Summer Research Award, 2009-12-31
  • Gund Award for Faculty-Student Collaborative Research, 2008
  • Summer Research Award, 2008
  • Gund Award for Faculty-Student Collaborative Research, 2006
  • Summer Research Award, 2006
  • Gigax Faculty Development Grant, 2005
  • Gund Award for Faculty-Student Collaborative Research, 2005
  • Summer Research Award, 2004
  • James P. Barry Ohioana Award for Editorial Excellence, 2003
  • Summer Research Award, 2003
  • Summer Research Award, 2002
  • Summer Research Award, 2001
  • National Choral Award for Outstanding Choral Publication, 1998-12-31
  • Publishing Award, 1996-12-31
  • Research Award, 1996-12-31
  • William H. Scheide Fellowship, 1996
  • Travel & Presentation Award, 1993-12-31
  • Publishing Award, 1992-12-31
  • Research Award, 1991
  • Publishing Award, 1990
  • Travel & Presentation Award, 1990
  • Publishing Award, 1988-12-31
  • Travel Award, 1988-12-31
  • Publishing Award, 1986
  • Travel Award, 1986

Professional Membership

  • Neue Bach Gesellschaft
  • Alberta Choral Federation
  • American Choral Directors Association
  • Riemenschneider Bach Institute

Intellectual Contributions

  • "Review of Chester L. Alwes, A History of Western Choral Music, 2 vols. ," BACH – Journal of the Riemenschneider Bach Institute (N/A).
  • "“Measure, Tempo, and Performance Duration in Heinichen’s Sacred Music. An Essay Not Just Relevant to Performance Practice"," Performance Practice Review (N/A).
  • ""Sacred Cantatas" in Cambridge Bach Encyclopedia," Cambridge University Press (N/A).
  • "“Heinichen, Johann David” in Cambridge Encyclopedia of Historical Performance in Music," Cambridge University Press (N/A).
  • "“Trauer-Ode” in Cambridge Bach Encyclopedia," Cambridge University Press (2015).
  • "Foreward to The Aesthetic of Johann Sebastian Bach by André Pirro, translated by Joe Armstrong," Scarecrow Press (2014).
  • "“Chiastic Reflection in the B-Minor Mass: Lament’s Paradoxical Mirror"," Cambridge University Press (2013).
  • ""Bach, Johann Sebastian" in Dictionary of Christian Spirituality," Zondervan (2011).
  • ""Sacred Music" in Dictionary of Christian Spirituality," Zondervan (2011).
  • "Review of Facsimile of Original Performing Parts to Johann Sebastian Bach, “Allein zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ,” BWV 33.," Bach Notes - American Bach Society (2011).
  • "G. H. Stölzel, “German Te Deum” - First edition," A-R Editions (2010).
  • "Historical Dictionary of Choral Music," Scarecrow Press (2010).
  • "CD Recording (Male Chorus) - "A Joyous Season"," N/A (2008).
  • "CD Recording (Male Chorus) - "Let All Men Sing"," Available on I-Tunes (2007).
  • " J. S. Bach’s Major Works for Voices and Instruments: A Listener’s Guide," Scarecrow Press (2005).
  • "“‘Ich elender Mensch’: Bach on the Soul’s Torment” in Affekt und Leidenschaft in der Frühen Neuzeit," N/A (2005).
  • "“Uncovering Text-Music Connections with a Relational Database: Towards an Objective Measurement of Pitch Diversity in Relation to Literary Themes in Bach’s Church Cantata Recitatives"," Computers and the Humanities (2004).
  • "Performance Practice of the Instrumental-Vocal Works of Johann Sebastian Bach," Scarecrow Press (2002).
  • "Review of Die Quellen Johann Sebatian Bachs. Bachs Musik im Gottesdienst," The American Bach Society Newsletter (2001).
  • "Review of Theologische Bachforschung heute: Dokumentation und Bibliographie der Internationalen Arbeitsgemeinschaft für theologische Bachforschung 1976–1996, ed. Renate Steige," The American Bach Society Newsletter (2000).
  • "“Bach’s First Two Leipzig Cantatas: the Question of Meaning Revisited"," Bach - Journal of the Riemenschneider Bach Institute (1998).
  • "Handbook to Bach’s Sacred Cantata Texts: an Interlinear Translation with Reference Guide to Biblical Quotations and Allusions," Scarecrow Press (1996).
  • "CD Recording (Mixed Chorus) - "Gloria. Music of the French Cathedral"," Arktos (1995).
  • "“A Self-Diagnostic Check-up for Conductors"," The Choral Journal (1994).
  • "Johann David Heinichen (1683–1729), “Herr, nun lässest du deinen Diener in Friede fahren” - First edition," Carus-Verlag (1991).
  • "The German Choral Church Compositions of Johann David Heinichen (1683–1729).," Peter Lang (1990).
  • "Johann David Heinichen (1683–1729), “Heilig ist Gott, der Herr Zebaoth" - First edition," Carus-Verlag (1989).
  • "“Choral Flatting: Sometimes It’s a Matter of Register Transition"," The Choral Journal (1989).
  • "“Britten’s Hymn to St. Cecilia: An Exegesis"," The Choral Journal (1982).
  • "Review: Dooyeweerd, Herman, trans. John Kraay. Roots of Western Culture," The Mennonite Brethren Herald (1981).