Photo of James David Christie
  • Professor of Organ
  • Chair, Organ Department


  • BM, Oberlin Conservatory of Music, 1975
  • MM, New England Conservatory of Music, 1977
  • Artist Diploma, New England Conservatory of Music, 1978 DFA (h.c.), New England School of Law, 1980
  • Organ study with Byron Blackmore, David Boe, Marie-Claire Alain, Harald Vogel, Yuko Hayashi, and Bernard Lagacé
  • Harpsichord study with Fenner Douglass and Lisa Goode Crawford


James David Christie has been internationally acclaimed as one of the finest organists of his generation. He has performed around the world with symphony orchestras and period instrument ensembles as well as in solo recitals.

Christie has served as organist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra since 1978 and has performed and recorded with the major orchestras of Vienna, London, Stuttgart, Koblentz, Paris, Philadelphia, San Francisco, San Diego, Seattle, Baltimore, New York, Boston, and others. He has given more than 50 tours of Europe and performs regularly in Canada, Asia, Australia, and Iceland.

He is music director of Ensemble Abendmusik, a Boston-based period instrument orchestra and chorus specializing in sacred music of the 17th and 18th centuries. He has performed with many period instrument orchestras including the Academy of Ancient Music, the Bach Ensemble, Handel & Haydn Society, Boston Baroque, the New York Collegium, and others.

Christie holds positions as chair and professor of organ at Oberlin Conservatory; distinguished artist in residence at the College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, Massachusetts; and chair and college organist at Wellesley College in Wellesley, Massachusetts. He has previously held positions at Boston Conservatory, Harvard University, M.I.T., and Boston University.

Awards and Recognition

Christie won the 1979 First Prize of the Bruges (Belgium) International Organ Competition and was the first American ever to win the First Prize in this prestigious competition. He also was the first person in the competition’s 18-year history to win both the First Prize and the Prize of the Audience.

He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from the New England School of Law for his outstanding contributions to the musical life of Boston. The New England Conservatory honored him with its Outstanding Alumni Award.

Professional Affiliations

He has served on international organ competition juries in Paris, St. Omer-Wasquehal, Chartres, Biarritz, St. Albans, Amsterdam, Lübeck, Bordeaux, Dublin, Worcester, Calgary, Montreal, Columbus, Dallas, Leipzig, Weimar-Merseburg, Speyer, Erfurt, Tokyo, Moscow, Kaliningrad, Astana, Lausanne, Boston, and Bruges. His students have been competition prize winners in North America, Europe, Japan, and South Africa.


Christie has recorded for Decca, Philips, Nonesuch, JAV, Northeastern, Arabesque, Denon, RCA, Dorian, Naxos, Bridge, and GM and has received several awards for his solo recordings, including the Preis der Deutschen Schallplatten Kritik and the Magazine d’Orgue: Coup de Coeur.