Bringing a St. Olaf music background to Broadway
Since graduating from St. Olaf College, Aron Accurso ’01 has used music to help create a whole new world for theatergoers.
Currently the associate music director for Aladdin on Broadway, he’s been helping bring music to the stage on Broadway for 13 years.
“Music, for me, is a way to reach somebody’s soul,” says Accurso, who is also a composer of musical theater and choral music. “It creates empathy, it creates joy. It’s a wonderful way to connect. Music is life.”
During his time at St. Olaf, Accurso was a member of multiple choirs, something that he says prepared him well for his work now.
“Believe it or not, singing in a St. Olaf choir is a lot like playing in the pit of a Broadway show because of the attention to detail and musicianship. We’re listening carefully, following a conductor, and making a cohesive sound together as an ensemble,” he says.
Believe it or not, singing in a St. Olaf choir is a lot like playing in the pit of a Broadway show because of the attention to detail and musicianship. We’re listening carefully, following a conductor, and making a cohesive sound together as an ensemble.Aron Accurso ’01
We caught up with Accurso to film an interview about his work right before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Although a lot has changed with music and theater in the last 18 months, including the addition of safety measures to performances and the way New Yorkers gather, one thing has stayed the same: the arts provide inspiration and entertainment, even in the most difficult times.
“Even though I love entertaining and putting on shows, of course, what really gets me jazzed these days is the idea of affecting people in a profound way using music and theater,” Accurso says.
While Broadway was closed due to the pandemic, Accurso worked with his wife, Rachel, to create “Songs for Littles,” a YouTube channel for toddlers that has garnered more than 76 million views in the last year and has been featured in several media outlets. Also mental health advocates, they are currently writing and producing a Broadway music video, “You Are Enough,” for Bring Change to Mind, a mental health organization.
“To me what it means to be an Ole is to be somebody who is caring — both supportive to other people, but also who cares about things in the world and helping people,” he says.