He made his debut recital at the age of 13 playing Paganini’s Capricci.Two years later he won the Geneva Competition and shortly after the Paganini Competition in Genoa.
His repertoire ranges from pre-Bach to post-Berg; composers like Sciarrino, Donatoni, Piston, Piazzolla, Colasanti and Xenakis wrote for him.
In addition to playing with the world’s leading orchestras and conductors, Accardo performs in recital and particularly loves chamber music.
In 1992 he founded the Accardo Quartet and in 1986 the Walter Stauffer Academy together with Giuranna, Filippini and Petracchi in Cremona, where they regularly give master classes. In 1971 he founded the Settimane Musicali Internazionali in Naples, where rehearsals were open to the audience, and the Cremona String Festival.
Accardo has also dedicated part of his activities to conducting important European and American Orchestras. He recorded as conductor with the Philharmonia Orchestra of London. Since 1987 he conducts also opera (Rossini Festival with Ponnelle, Rome Opera House, Monte Carlo Opera, Lille and Naples Opera House).
In 1992 for the 200th anniversary of Rossini’s birth, he conducted in Pesaro Festival and in Rome the first modern edition of the Messa di Gloria (recorded live by Warner Fonit), that did again in 1995 in Vienna with the Wiener Symphoniker.
He recorded for DGG Paganini Capricci and Concertos for violin with Charles Dutoit , for Philips several recordings (Bach Sonatas and Partitas, Max Bruch works for violin and orchestra with Kurt Masur, Čajkovskij, Dvořák and Sibelius Concerts with Colin Davis, Mendelssohn Concert with Charles Dutoit, Brahms and Beethoven Concerts with Kurt Masur). He also recorded for ASV, Dynamic, EMI, Sony Classical, Collins Classic and Foné. Among these recordings are: Beethoven Concerto in D major and 2 Romances with Accademia della Scala Orchestra conducted by Carlo Maria Giulini for Sony Classical; Brahms Sonatas for violin and piano, Schubert Quartets, Paganini Capricci and Homage to Heifetz and Homage to Kreisler for FONÉ playing the legendary violins from the Cremona collection; for Dynamic Accardo played Paganini’s violin. Recently Foné re-masterised the Mozart Complete works for violin in 13 CDs in high quality technology.
Accardo has been awarded in Italy with Abbiati Prize by the Italian Musical Critics in recognition of the exceptional standard of his playing and interpretation and with the Italian highest honour “Cavaliere di Gran Croce”. In 1996 the Beijing Conservatoire named him “most honourable Professor”, in 1999 he was named”Commandeur dans l’ordre du mérit culturel” in Monaco and in 2002 he received “A Life for the Music” Award, and this year he was awarded by the Kennedy Center of New York with the Gold Medal in the Arts.
In 1996 Accardo recreated the Orchestra da Camera Italiana (OCI), whose members are the best pupils of Cremona “Walter Stauffer Academy” and recorded two CDs with them: The virtuoso violin in Italy and Masterpieces for violin and strings for Warner Fonit Cetra. In 1999 Accardo and OCI recorded the complete Paganini Concerti for violin and orchestra for EMI Classics, the “Concerto per la Costituzione” and in 2003 the complete Astor Piazzolla works for violin in 3 SACDs for Foné.
Accardo and OCI do every year many concerts together especially in Italy, where they play every season for the most important concert Societies and Theaters.
From 2007 he realized up to now the second recording of J. S. Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin, the third recording of Paganini’s 24 Capricci (Urtext) and the third recording of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons with OCI (Urtext).
Salvatore Accardo plays a violin Guarneri del Gesù “Hart”- 1730.
Salvatore Accardo has come back to Siena in 2004, where he was once a Student and later an Instructor from 1973 to 1980.