Organist, conductor, and composer Stephan Casurella was appointed director of music at Christ Church Cathedral in 2009. In 2016, he was named canon precentor. (See below.)
In addition to overseeing all aspects of music for the cathedral’s rich worship life, he conducts the cathedral choirs, shares organ playing duties with the associate director of music, and coordinates a busy concert schedule. Prior to his tenure at Christ Church, Stephan held positions at various churches, including Our Saviour Lutheran Church in Kansas City, Kansas (1998-2006), and Village Presbyterian Church in Prairie Village, Kansas (2006-2009). He also taught music at Avila College (1996-2000).
Stephan was born in England, where he began studying piano, organ and music composition at an early age. After moving to the United States, he earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in both piano performance and music composition and in 2009 was awarded a doctor of musical arts degree in church music (organ emphasis) from the University of Kansas.
In demand as a performer and choral clinician, Stephan has appeared as a soloist with ensembles such as the Thalia Symphony Orchestra, the Kansas City Chamber Orchestra, the Kansas City Wind Symphony, and Collegium Cincinnati. He has conducted numerous choirs, including performances with the Immanuel Lutheran Church Bach Cantata Vespers Orchestra in Kansas City, Missouri, the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, and Collegium Cincinnati. Stephan is a published composer who has written for a wide range of media. His works have been performed by soloists and ensembles such as the choir of Chester Cathedral, England, the Thalia Symphony Orchestra, the Xavier University Concert Choir, and flutist James Hall.
THE ROLE OF CANON PRECENTOR
The title “precentor” is rooted in the word “cantor.” The precentor is literally the person “who sings before.” In the Anglican tradition, the precentor is in charge of liturgy and music as they seamlessly inform each other in a creative dance. The precentor traditionally works with the musicians and various liturgical guilds in the preparation and presentation of worship. (A canon is an ecclesiastical title often given to members of a cathedral or diocesan staff.)
As canon precentor and director of music, Stephan works with the sub-dean to oversee the liturgy of Christ Church Cathedral.