D. Hicks is a native of Fredericksburg, VA. He holds
degrees in music from the Peabody Institute of Music of
Johns Hopkins University, Yale University, and the University
of Cincinnati. Other studies include courses at
the Royal School of Church Music in England. He
is an Associate of the American Guild of Organists.
was Director of Music at The Presbyterian Church, Morristown,
NJ from 1985-2011, where he conducted many of the church’s
ensembles, administered the concert series, and served
has appeared as a concert organist throughout the United
States, Europe and Australia. Over the past decade,
he made six recordings on the Pro Organo label.
The first, American Classic Fantastic, was recorded
at the Presbyterian Church in Morristown, NJ in 2003,
and demonstrates the extensive rebuild of that instrument
from the 1990s, a project that Hicks oversaw. This
disc features several world premiere recordings of twentieth
and twenty-first century American repertoire, including
two original works. The National Public Media program
Pipedreams, hosted by Michael Barone, has broadcast
several of the tracks from American Classic Fantastic,
and it has received considerable notice in the media.
the past several years, Jim has intensively researched
a relatively unknown and unexplored corner of the organ
repertoire: the music of Nordic countries.
The series is called Nordic Journey and is now
an ongoing endeavor. The series seeks to commission
new works from some of the leading composers from northern
Europe, discover unpublished and, hitherto, unknown works
from previous eras, highlight compositions that have never
been recorded, as well as celebrating a few of the standard
masterpieces of the Nordic school.
original Nordic Journey was a two-cd release,
recorded in January 2010 on the historic Setterquist organ
at Linköping Cathedral, Linköping, Sweden.
The program features the series’ first commissioned
work, Variations for Organ, by Swedish composer
Fredrik Sixten. The program mixes more standard
repertoire with many works that have never been recorded,
including Sixten’s modern-day masterpiece, Messa
Misteriosa. Pro Organo released Nordic
Journey in June, 2010.
the summer of 2013, Jim traveled to Sweden for the purpose
of adding three more volumes to the Nordic Journey
series. Volume II, entitled The Nordic
Symphonic Tradition, was recorded on the magnificent
Äkerman & Lund organ at St. Johannes’ Church,
Malmö, Sweden. This disc is devoted to works
of the late-romantic era and is notable for the world
premiere recordings of unpublished works by Finnish composer
Viljo Mikkola and the Swedish musician Erik Alvin.
III is entitled Swedish Folkways and Classic
Traditions and juxtaposes twentieth-century works
written in neo-classic style with compositions informed
by the folk music of that country. Uppsala-based
composer, Mårten Jansson contributed the disc’s
commissioned work, A Part of My Heritage, a composition
that Jim premiered on Swedish National Radio in March,
2012. Other notable contributions to Volume III
include the world premiere recording of Fredrik Sixten’s
2012 Toccata & Fugue on BACH. The
colorful 1964 Poul-Gerhard Andersen organ of Skara Cathedral,
Skara, Sweden served as the perfect vehicle for this repertoire.
trilogy of recordings from 2013 concludes with Modern
Masters, recorded on the Åkerman & Lund
organ at Västerås Cathedral, Västerås,
Sweden as Nordic Journey, Volume IV.
World premiere recordings on this disc include Norwegian
composer Kjell Mørk Karlsen’s Sinfonia
Norvegica and three commissioned works by Fredrik
Sixten: Passacaglia for Organ, Lamentation
for Organ, and a work for two sopranos and organ
with a text by St. Francis, Canticle of the Sun.
Journey series has received considerable media
coverage, including an entire program on the NPM show Pipedreams,
hosted by Michael Barone and two interviews on Wisconsin
Public Radio, all in 2014.
Cathedral, Kalmar, Sweden was the venue for 2015's Nordic
Journey, Volume V—Many Landscapes. Recorded
in April of that year and released in September, this
double CD lives up to its title by including organ compositions
that span the entire northern world: works from Iceland,
the Faroe Islands, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. Five pieces
composed by Sven-Ingvart Mikkelsen, Fredrik Sixten, Kjell
Mørk Karlsen, Pauli í Sandagerði, and
Thomas Åberg were composed specifically for Many
Landscapes. The unique nature of this edition of
Nordic Journey was enhanced by it being the premiere
recording of the cathedral's Tostareds organ, built in
2013. Jim supported this release by performing 20 concerts
at music festivals throughout the nordic world in 2015.
music of Finland is the subject of Nordic Journey,
Volume VI, released in September 2016. This double
disc was recorded in June of the same year at two locations
in Turku, the ancient capital of Finland. Disc one features
the 1980 Virtanen organ of Turku Cathedral, the most historic
location of the country. Two commissioned works by contemporary
Finnish composers, Mauri Viitala and Santeri Siimes, plus
several multi-movement, previously unknown works from
the Romantic era form the basis of this part of the release.
The colorful 2002 Gronlunds organ at St. Michael's, Turku
was the perfect vehicle for a program of smaller works
of contrasting styles, including the four organ compositions
of Jack Mattsson, a transcription of a work by Jean Sibelius,
and two pieces by St. Michael's organist Marko Hakanpää.
promoted Nordic Journey, Volume VI in New Zealand,
northern Europe and the United States throughout 2016.
2017 will see the continuation of many of Jim's endeavors
with the recording of Nordic Journey, Volume VII
in August, a collection that will utilize the tonal recourses
of the three organs at Nidaros Cathedral, Trondheim, Norway.
Commissioned works by Fredrik Sixten and Kjell Mørk
Karlsen will be the starting point in a program devoted
to four centuries of Nordic music. Nordic Journey, Volume
VIII is, in addition, scheduled to be recorded at the
Hallgrímskirkja, Reykjavik, Iceland in the autumn
The year will also mark the continuation
of Jim's ongoing fundraiser for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Please visit hicksnordichike.com