Michael Stillwater innovates with music, words, and images. An award-winning songwriter, recording artist and filmmaker, he provides artistic and transformative reflection upon core societal issues. An innovative educator, he catalyzes creative expression in people of all ages.
Through Song Without Borders, the nonprofit creative arts agency he founded, Stillwater created his first film, Shining Night: A Portrait of Composer Morten Lauridsen (2012) together with his wife, Doris Laesser Stillwater. Acclaimed 'a heartening rarity' by the Wall Street Journal, the film received four Best Documentary awards at US film festivals and enthusiastic response from a global audience, including Europe and South Africa. The movie tells the story of one man's deep listening in the solitude of nature, and sharing the song he hears through millions of choral voices.
The Stillwater's second film, In Search of the Great Song: Fifty voices. Twelve countries. One question (2016), received two Best Documentary awards, including at its US Premiere, Moondance Int'l Film Festival in Boulder, CO. Providing an existential and metaphorical context, the film serves as a conversation starter for exploring our essential creativity.
Their third film, Beyond the Fear of Singing: Unlock Your Voice, Release Your Song (2019), focuses on the inhibition so many feel about their singing voice, and pathways to healing and expression.
His chants and healing songs are enjoyed by listening audiences and in singing circles, gatherings, churches and communities worldwide, with multiple recordings also by other artists.
His intuitive recording artistry provides a unique way for people to feel seen and supported at an essential level. The Honoring is a music healing ceremony which demonstrates empathic connection in a unique and beautiful way. SongSourcing is an expressive arts method for anyone to re-connect to their own intuitive vocal expression. Stillwater's Song Sanctuary seminars and retreats combine these elements in a one-day, two-day, or longer program.
He is co-author with film composer Gary Malkin of the award-winning audio resource for palliative care and transition, Graceful Passages: A Companion for Living and Dying.
Together with his wife, creative partner and project co-producer, Doris Laesser Stillwater, a Swiss contemplative psychologist, he co-leads Art of Presence and Song Sanctuary Retreats, in Europe and America, providing support through contemplative, creative and personal growth practice. He resides in Helsinki, Finland and travels frequently, offering musical programs, keynote performances and creative educational programs worldwide.
In 2018, the title SongLife was chosen to represent Stillwater's music events.