Michael Stillwater is an innovator with music, words, and images. An award-winning songwriter, recording artist and filmmaker, he provides artistic and transformative reflection upon core societal issues, catalyzing creative expression in people of all ages.
Stillwater’s interfaith chants and healing songs are enjoyed in singing circles, gatherings, churches and communities worldwide, with multiple recordings by other artists as well as himself.
An interfaith minister through the Chaplaincy Institute, he ministered through Heavensong, a non-denominational church based in California and Hawaii, from 1978 through 1990.
Through Song Without Borders, the nonprofit creative arts agency he co-founded, Stillwater produced films and other programs applying song to personal and societal transformation.
He 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 the life and music of National Medal of Arts recipient Morten Lauridsen, recognized as the most performed choral composer of recent times.
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 inherent creativity and essential spiritual unity. With interviews recorded worldwide, including at the 2009 Parliament of the World’s Religions in Melbourne, the film was screened at the Parliaments in both Salt Lake City (2015) and Toronto (2018).
Their third film, Beyond the Fear of Singing: Unlock Your Voice, Release Your Song (2019), winner of three film festival awards, focuses on the inhibition so many feel about their singing voice, together with healing pathways for overcoming limitations and the rewarding discovery of expressing one’s voice.
Stillwater’s unique intuitive recording artistry provides a way for people to feel seen and supported at an essential level. His intuitive songportraits demonstrate empathic connection, while Song Sanctuary seminars and retreats combine a variety of interactive elements in a one-day, two-day, or longer program. SongLife Training serminars, both local and online, provide anyone with a forum for unlocking their musical aspirations individually or with others.
Online he offers Personal Songportraits, the Honoring Ceremony, Private Instruction Sessions, and SongLife Training.
With Emmy-award winning film composer Gary Malkin and Swiss psychotherapist Doris Laesser Stillwater, he co-authord Graceful Passages: A Companion for Living and Dying (over one million listeners/readers), and Care for the Journey: Messages and Music for Sustaining the Heart of Healthcare, created for reducing stress in healthcare and palliative care practitioners.
Together with his wife Doris he leads Song Sanctuary Retreats in Europe and America, providing support through contemplative, creative and personal growth practice. A resident of Europe since 2005, he now lives in the Alps of Switzerland and travels frequently, offering online and local musical programs and creative educational programs worldwide.