Michael Duryea (click here for professional resume) began his journey as an artist with the piano at age four, when he started taking private lessons. Michael’s love of music also came from the traditional practice of congregational singing with the Trinity Hymnal in the traditional Presbyterian church, and from the CDs of classical music his mother would play regularly in the home.
Michael started choral conducting in undergraduate school with the formation of his own choir (Covenant Choir) and with the Chamber Singers and Touring Choir under Dr. Douglas Browne at Grove City College in western Pennsylvania, where he studied for his Bachelor of Music in piano with Dr. Beverly Carter and for an organ minor with Dr. Richard Konzen. During his time at Grove City, he studied and performed at the Masterworks Music Festival piano intensive studies program during two different summer terms. At Grove City, Michael discovered a keen interest in choral music of all genres, but especially sacred music, which led to his composition of two choral pieces (both from the Catholic Mass) which the Grove City College Touring Choir premiered in their annual Holy Week tour.
Covenant Choir, Grove City College – Michael, far left
Grove City College Touring Choir – Michael, 4th row, 4th from the left
After Grove City, Michael attended the University of Notre Dame to study for a Masters in Sacred Music in choral conducting under Dr. Carmen Helena Téllez. Since his graduation from Notre Dame, Michael has made a career working for the church, first serving as Organist and Director of Music at St. Bernadette Catholic Church in Springfield, Virginia, and currently as Organist and Director of Music at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Emporia, Kansas, where he also teaches elementary school music at Sacred Heart Catholic School. Michael has also assisted and subbed for Dr. Robert Ward, formerly director of choral activities at Emporia State University, Department of Music.
In June 2017, Michael attended the Princeton Festival Conducting Masterclass as a conducting student under Dr. Jan Harrington to study music by Zelenka, Handel, Monteverdi, and Vivaldi.
Michael is co-founder and conductor of the annual Music for Life benefit concert series at First Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Pittsburgh, PA, where he has conducted works by John Tavener, Giaches de Wert, Gerald Finzi, and Gustav Mahler.
When he is not pursuing music, Michael enjoys archery, golf, the outdoors, mythology, the Great Books, poetry, making food, and being a husband to his wife Shaina, and father to his three boys, Caspian, Eliot, and Rafael.