Garnet Ungar has appeared throughout the world as piano soloist with orchestra, in recitals at major universities, and in broadcasts on American Public Radio, the CBC in Canada, and Hong Kong Radio. Highlights of recent seasons include giving recitals and masterclasses at Xinghai Conservatory in China, Kwassui University in Japan, Indiana University, the University of Michigan, the University of British Columbia, Hong Kong Baptist University, Tanglewood, the American Liszt Society in New York City, and the Arts and Letters Club in Toronto. He has also performed in Switzerland, Sweden, and England, and in 2019 toured South America, performing and teaching at major musical institutions in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Uruguay.
Dr. Ungar’s recording of the Brahms Second Piano Concerto with the Varna Philharmonic in Bulgaria was described in Clavier Magazine as “powerful and precise…having solidity and passion, a magisterial presence, structural integrity, immediacy and intensity.” In 2009 he released his second CD, of Schubert piano works. A review in Fanfare Magazine mentioned “subtle nuances under perfect control and never sounding self-conscious…a fine control of myriad touches and colors… steady, focused, and unrelenting-a really superlative account.” Clavier Companion describes “an impressively imaginative and nuanced musical sensitivity with a refined technique” and “a complexity to his interpretations that cannot be fully appreciated at a first listening.”
Garnet Ungar recently co-wrote Inner Voices, the autobiography of his most famous teacher, Abbey Simon. Published in 2017 and available on Amazon.com, the book traces Simon’s artistic and personal journey from his childhood at the Curtis Institute to navigating the thorny business of music and, of course, the music itself. The book also contains several appendices of historical significance.
Dr. Ungar has served on the piano faculties of Mount Royal University in Calgary, the University Settlement House in Toronto, and the Music at Maple Mount Summer Institute in Kentucky. He is currently Professor Emeritus of Music at the University of Evansville in Indiana, where he taught full-time for twenty-six years. He regularly adjudicates piano competitions throughout the US, and has served as judge for the Hong Kong Schools Music Festival three times. In demand as a private teacher, his students have won several important local and state competitions. They have included six first prizewinners in the Evansville Philharmonic Competition, four finalists in the Indianapolis Symphony Competition, and first and second place winners in the Murray State/Paducah Symphony Competition. He has also taught multiple State MTNA and Evansville Schmidt Award winners.
Born in Montréal, Dr. Ungar obtained degrees in piano performance from the Universities of Toronto, Calgary, and Houston, where his principal teachers were William Aide, Marilyn Engle, Abbey Simon, and Ruth Tomfohrde. Additional studies include sessions at the Royal Conservatory of Toronto, where he obtained an Associate Performer’s diploma, with Marek Jablonski at the Banff School of Fine Arts, Marc Durand and Anton Kuerti at the Centre d’Arts Orford in Québec, and Bernard Ebert at the Académie de Musique de Sion in Switzerland.