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About Emma

Emma Whitten is an accomplished organist specializing in early Baroque and contemporary repertoire. She performs across the United States and internationally, captivating audiences and introducing the organ to new listeners. Her programs are engaging and diverse, drawing from an extensive repertoire spanning eight centuries of organ music. 

Dr. Whitten serves as Associate Organist at Christ Cathedral (formerly Crystal Cathedral) in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange County, California. The Cathedral campus is home to two landmark instruments, the five-manual Hazel Wright Organ in the Cathedral and the four-manual Fred Swann Organ in the Arboretum. As Associate Organist, Emma plays for major liturgies at the Cathedral and accompanies the Diocesan Choir. In September 2022, she released her debut recording, Hazel Is Back! (Gothic Records 49338), in celebration of the Hazel Wright Organ's recent restoration. Emma also acts as Director of Music at Community Church Congregational in Corona del Mar, California. In Fall 2022, she joined the faculty of Concordia University in Irvine, where she currently serves as Senior Adjunct Professor of Organ and Church Music, teaching courses in music history, church music, and organ performance.

Performance venues and festivals include the Dedication Year of the Hazel Wright Organ, Cathedral of St. John the Divine (NYC), Los Angeles Presidents' Day Organ Festival, St. Paul's Cathedral (San Diego, CA), Catalina Organ Festival (Tucson, AZ), Saints Simon & Jude Cathedral (Phoenix, AZ), University of Arizona, Saint Mary's Basilica (Phoenix, AZ), and University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Emma has performed for American Guild of Organists chapters including Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange County, Palomar, Central Arizona, and Knoxville. Internationally, Emma has performed on historic organs in Germany, Spain, Colombia, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. She particularly promotes the work of women composers, including performances of major works by Pamela Decker at the University of Arizona and Arizona State University, as well as leading workshops on women composers for chapters of the American Guild of Organists.


Emma maintains a private teaching studio in Oceanside, California where she works with organists of all ages, from beginning students to professionals. She regularly acts as an adjudicator for scholarship auditions and competitions including the AGO/Quimby Regional Competitions for Young Organists and the AGO certification programs. She has served as both faculty and featured performer for Pipe Organ Encounters, week-long educational workshops for high school organists.

​In December 2014, Emma graduated with her D.M.A. in Organ Performance from Arizona State University, where she studied with Kimberly Marshall. Her doctoral dissertation, entitled “Synthesizing Styles: International Influence on Organ Music in Restoration England,” explores French and Italian musical elements in the organ works of Matthew Locke, John Blow, and Henry Purcell. In 2011, Emma received her Masters of Music degree from the University of Kansas under Michael Bauer, and in 2009 she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Music from the University of Notre Dame, where she studied organ with Craig Cramer. Her previous teachers include László Attila Almásy of the Bartók Conservatory in Budapest and John Brock of the University of Tennessee.

​Emma Whitten is represented by Seven Eight Artists.

Curriculum vitae - updated February 2023

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