CRISTA MILLER is the Director of Music and Cathedral Organist at Houston’s Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart where she chaired the Organ Committee for Martin Pasi’s Opus 19 pipe organ. She oversees the Celebrity Organ Series, the First Friday series and other events, and leads a growing Cathedral music organization for adults and children. Under her direction the Co-Cathedral’s Schola Cantorum and Cor Jesu choirs remain in high demand for large-scale, festive liturgies, including Archbishop Joseph A. Fiorenza’s ceremonial receipt of the Pallium from Pope Benedict XVI in Rome; Church Music Association of America; National Catholic Education Association; and other national music conferences. She has appeared with CANTARE Houston, Houston Masterworks Chorus, Houston Children’s Chorus, Clear Lake Symphony, the Bay Area Chorus, St. Cecilia Chamber Choir and various visiting university, high school, and children’s choral groups that make pilgrimages to the Co-Cathedral. Formerly choir director/organist at the Chapel of St. Basil at the University of St. Thomas, her service playing at Third Presbyterian Church, Rochester, NY, has been broadcast live on WXXI Public Radio.
Dr. Miller is the recipient of a 2014-15 Individual Artist Grant from the Houston Arts Alliance for a series of multimedia performances of repertoire spanning 500 years on Martin Pasi’s Opus 19 pipe organ. She has performed in France, Spain, Italy, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Sweden, and Canada, including featured appearances at the Svendbørg International Organ Festival; the Festival de Órgano de Asturias Cajastur, and two conventions of the American Guild of Organists. An award-winning organist in international and national playing competitions (Odense, Denmark; Fort Wayne; San Antonio; the American Guild of Organists National Young Artists’ Competition in Organ Playing), she has also been featured in solo performance in seventeen states and at landmark US instruments such as Washington National Cathedral, St. Thomas Church New York City, Harvard University’s Memorial Chapel, Goshen College, the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester, NY, and Cathedrals in Omaha, Oakland, Nashville, Pittsburgh, and Milwaukee.
Dr. Miller has been a featured presenter for the Eastman School of Music, the American Guild of Organists Region VII Convention (Albuquerque), the Church Music Association of America (Miami and Pittsburgh), and the University of North Texas’s inaugural Wolff Organ Conference (Denton). Research on cultural influences in the organ works of Naji Hakim has found Dr. Miller working with the composer in southern France and Paris. Publication of her work on the Middle Eastern elements in Naji Hakim’s music and his connection to Charles Tournemire appears in the 2014 volume Mystic Modern: The Music, Thought, and Legacy of Charles Tournemire.
As a teacher, Dr. Miller has adjudicated organ competitions and served as a member of the applied music faculties at Houston Baptist University, the University of St. Thomas, and the American Festival for the Arts. A champion of new music, she has premiered several works, including Naji Hakim’s O Filii et Filiae and Equisses Persanes (North American premiere); Joseph Patrick’s Celebration of the Spirit and Daniel Knaggs’ Iter Animae. Active in the American Guild of Organists, Dr. Miller serves on the 2016 National Convention Steering Committee, chairs the 2016 New Music Committee, and has served on the Executive Board of the local chapter. In addition, Dr. Miller’s organ students have earned competition prizes from the Cameron Johnson Organ Competition, the Oklahoma City University Organ Competition, and the University of North Carolina School of the Arts High School Organ Competition, and scholarships from the Eastman School of Music and the University of North Texas.
Crista Miller earned the Doctorate of Musical Arts (DMA) in organ performance and literature and the Sacred Music Diploma at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, studying under Hans Davidsson. There she received the graduate award for the Eastman Rochester Organ Initiative (EROI), a global organ-building project that will ultimately deliver about twenty new organs to the Rochester area. In addition, she earned the Master of Music degree from the University of Houston’s Moores School of Music, studying with Robert Bates, Robert Brewer, and Robert Jones. Previously, she earned the Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering at Oklahoma State University, where she studied organ with Gerald Frank.