Colloquium Speaker: Crista Miller - “An Intelligibility Discoverable through Spirit, Mind, and Imagination: Retaining Your Learning Mindset after Leaving the University”


Location: 306 O'Neill Hall of Music and Sacred Music (View on map )

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Dr. Crista Miller, Director of Music and Cathedral Organist, Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Houston Texas, will be presenting a lecture entitled “An Intelligibility Discoverable through Spirit, Mind, and Imagination: Retaining Your Learning Mindset after Leaving the University”.

Hailed by Gramophone Magazine for her “superlative artistry” and “effortless virtuosity and musical intelligence,” Crista MILLER has served since 2004 as the Director of Music and Organist at Houston’s Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, where she led the Organ Committee responsible for Martin Pasi’s landmark Opus 19 pipe organ. She synthesizes a variety of roles for a growing Cathedral Music organization; directs the Schola Cantorum, Cor Jesu and children’s choirs; and oversees the concert series and Spanish liturgies. Her 35 years as a church musician have been enriched by her childhood in the Rio Grande Valley and early positions in the African-American Church and the rural Ozark Mountains.

Dr. Miller has concertized in Lebanon, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Ireland, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Sweden, Canada, Scotland, England, and in 27 states of the USA. Her double-CD Bonjour and Willkommen: A Franco-German Debut, is available on the Acis Productions label. This 500-year cultural exploration of the Pasi organ was supported in part by the Houston Arts Alliance, and noted by peer journals Choir and Organ and International Organists’ Review as “ambitious […], admirable and (a) very good advocate for the performer.” Her online recording collaborations include projects with the Azerbaijani-American Music Foundation (Baku); the Gabe Weiner Foundation (NYC); the Nadia Boulanger Initiative/Amplify Women Composers (Washington, DC); EastWest Organists (USA); and AGO Houston. Virtual choir projects can be found on YouTube’s Co-Cathedral Music channel.

With an interest in helping colleagues, Dr. Miller is a frequent conference presenter, most recently presenting chant-based organ works by female composers in Menlo Park, CA for “The Musical Shape of the Liturgy: Celebrating the Life and Work of William P. Mahrt”; highlighting works by Fela Sowande, P. Q. Pham, Louis Ballard and Naji Hakim at the University of Michigan; keynoting the Utech Hymnody Symposium and speaking at multiple EROI Festivals for the Eastman School of Music (Rochester, New York). She has additionally presented for the National Conference of Roman Catholic Cathedral Musicians (CRCCM); Church Music Association of America (CMAA); St. Joseph Seminary (NYC); the Society for Catholic Liturgy; and Loyola University (Chicago). Publications of her research on the Middle Eastern and Gregorian elements in Naji Hakim’s music appear in the book Mystic Modern: The Music, Thought, and Legacy of Charles Tournemire and in the journal ORGAN: Journal für die Orgel. Her doctoral seminar study on the Arp Schnitger Organ in Mariana, Brazil was nominated by Eastman Faculty for an award in Musicology. She advises for pipe organ projects in the USA, including a forthcoming Noack organ in Winston-Salem, NC.

Her passion for shepherding leadership in the emerging musician has found Dr. Miller serving as Chair for the National Nominating Committee of the American Guild of Organists, and as Secretary for the National CRCCM. An advocate of contemporary composition, she chaired New Music for the 2016 AGO National Convention in Houston. Fifteen new organ compositions, and a volume of over 20 competition-winning chorale preludes resulted from her committee’s work. In addition, her Schola Cantorum led Compline based on 17th Century polyphony composed by natives of Latin America for 2016 AGO Convention, inaugurated a Eucharistic Adoration series featuring choral masterworks; and in 2023 performed over 70 sacred music programs inside the Houston Buffalo Bayou Partnership’s decommissioned water storage tank, The Cistern.

Crista earned the Doctorate of Musical Arts (DMA) in organ performance and the Sacred Music Diploma from the Eastman School of Music, where she studied under Hans Davidsson (GOArt, Goteborg, Sweden) and Peter DuBois (NPR’s With Heart and Voice) at Third Presbyterian Church. She holds the Master of Music from the University of Houston’s Moores School of Music; studied privately with Naji Hakim in Paris and Bayonne, France; and earned a Bachelors of Science in Chemical Engineering from Oklahoma State University.

Free and open to the public.

This event will be live-streamed.