A native of Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey, Michael Accurso is an energetic, versatile, and dynamic musician. At once a conductor, organist, composer, and vocalist, Accurso enjoys an active schedule in academics, concert performance, commissions, and liturgical music.
As a conductor, Accurso has performed and produced several masterworks (Haydn’s Missa in Angustiis, Fauré’s Requiem, Victoria’s Officium Defuntorum, Handel/Mozart Der Messias, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Durante’s Magnificat) as well as collections of lesser-performed works. In 2013, Accurso performed a collection of pieces from Medieval Spain, taking an interdisciplinary approach, incorporating medieval spiritual traditions, costume, dialect, and period instruments. Recently, Accurso conducted the University of Notre Dame Vocale in a performance of Tomas Luis de Victoria’s Officium Defunctorum at the church of Santa Maria in Monserrato in Rome. In addition to Rome, Accurso has conducted selections of Fauré’s Requiem in Quito, Ecuador for an international sacred music festival and throughout the United States and Canada, including at Princeton University, during The Princeton Festival Masterclass with Jan Harrington.
Currently, Accurso is the director of music for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Raleigh and Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral. Additionally, he has held liturgical music leadership positions in Indiana, Michigan, and New Jersey and was a regular cantor at the Cathedral of Saint Patrick in New York, New York.
Within the past few years Accurso has engaged in composition projects. He has recently finished a massive undertaking of setting all of the lectionary psalms used for mass in the Roman Catholic Rite. This project incorporates all of the psalms used for Sunday masses, weekday masses, and all of the ritual masses. The project is currently under review for publication. He also recently composed a piece for the Rite of Dedication of an Altar, commissioned by Caleb Wenzel for Saint Mary Church in Bristol, Indiana. Et Alius Angelus, is a festive setting of the antiphon used during the incensation of the altar and occupies texts from the Book of Revelation and Psalm 138. In 2016, he was commissioned by Bishop Michael F. Burbidge to compose a hymn for the dedication of Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral. The hymn is based on Psalm 145 and is titled, I Will Praise Your Name Forever. The hymn has been translated into seven languages in addition to the original English.
As a vocalist, Accurso performs primarily from the genre of oratorios and cantatas. He has performed bass-baritone arias from Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s cantatas BWV 4 Christ Lag in Todesbanden and BWV 140 Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, and most recently Faure’s Requiem.
Accurso completed the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in choral conducting at the University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, Indiana. There he studied conducting with Carmen-Helena Téllez and additionally studied organ with Paul Walker, voice with Stephen Lancaster, and musicology under renowned scholars, Margot Fassler, Peter Jeffery, and Mary Frandsen. He holds the Master of Sacred Music degree from Notre Dame where his primary conducting teachers included Téllez, Jan Harrington, Nancy Menk, and Alexander Blachly. Accurso also holds the Bachelor of Music degree in Sacred Music with a concentration in Vocal Performance, Magna cum laude, from Moravian College where his professors included Eduardo Azzati (voice), Paula Ring Zerkle (conducting), and Russell Jackson (organ).