Christian Elliott is one of today’s prominent concert organists. Equally at home performing classical or popular genres, literature of the church or theatre, he is very much in demand scoring and accompanying silent films.
He has done extensive silent film accompaniment, including at the Packard Foundation’s Stanford Theatre (Palo Alto, California), UCLA, the Cinequest, and San Francisco Silent Film Festivals, San Luis Obispo International Film Festival, as well as the San Diego Symphony, Los Angeles Conservancy, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. A frequent performer at the American Theatre Organ Society’s national conventions, he has also performed for the American Institute of Organ Builders, BBC Radio, and at the famed Hollywood Bowl. He regularly appears at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle, Washington on their highly successful “Silent Movie Mondays” series.
In addition to his classical and church organ training, he was privileged to be mentored by several world-renowned theatre organists, including Lloyd G. Del Castillo, Gordon Kibbee, and Lyn Larsen. He is particularly identified for his association with legendary organist Gaylord Carter, the ‘dean’ of silent film accompaniment. Christian worked extensively with Mr. Carter, who proudly claimed Christian as his protégé. In 1995 at Carter’s gala 90th birthday celebration and farewell performance at Oakland’s Paramount Theatre, Christian and Gaylord shared the stage in a moving performance that garnered several standing ovations. Excerpts from this event were featured in the documentary “Pulling Out All the Stops: The Pipe Organ in America” seen on PBS television stations.
A southern California native, Christian graduated with honors from Vanguard University of Southern California with degrees in Music and Business Administration. For nine years he was a guest artist for the summer noon organ recitals at the Crystal Cathedral where he also coached with Frederick Swann. After moving to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1988 he studied with celebrated organist and composer Richard Purvis.
Christian has numerous solo recordings to his credit. Theatre Organ Journal’s Bob Shafter said in reviewing Shuffle Off to Buffalo: “…the best of the best…this recording (will be) one of the few ‘classics’ in the theatre organ world. It gets the highest possible recommendation.” His recordings are available from iTunes and CDBaby.com.
Christian performs solo organ engagements and silent film presentations all across the United States, and was named “Organist of the Year” by the American Theatre Organ Society in 2009.