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The Mission of Nordic Journey Continues—September 2017

Read the whole article here.


November Concert to be live broadcast on Swedish National Radio

James D. Hicks will perform a special concert November 1, 7:00 p.m. at the Östersunds Church, in Östersund, Sweden. This concert will be live-broadcast for Swedish National Radio and will be devoted entirely to music that Jim has commissioned from Swedish composers.


A review of Nordic Journey VI in the American Record Guide, March/April 2017

Previously I have reviewed two volumes from this series (M/A 2015; M/J 2015) and found them quite enjoyable, but this latest volume knocked my socks off. Not only because the playing and recorded sound maintain the same high standard of previous volumes, but because of the stunning organs and marvelous music. Volumes 1-5 focused on Sweden; this program moves to Finland, presenting standard, newly commissioned, and unpublished pieces. I like every piece on the program from the large-scale and powerful works by Maasalo, Isacsson, Sundberg, and Siimes, to the delightful "Ice Cream Truck Fugue a la Bach" and the toe-tapping-Sousa-like-march Through The Alps.

Hicks plays on two organs located in Turku, Finland-the 82 stop Veikko Virtanen in the cathedral, and the 52 stop Grönlunds in St. Michael's Church. Both are powerful, rich, colorful instruments of a distinct French personality. Notes on the music (including publishers), the organs, and the specifications are included. I love this recording, and want to learn some of this music.

—written by Robert Delcamp


A review of Nordic Journey III in the American Record Guide, March/April 2015

This is Volume III in a four-volume survey of the highways and byways of organ music from Nordic countries, which have a rich heritage of organ building, music, and playing. I was initially unsure of my response to an entire disc of music by unknown composers; but the excellent organ, clear recorded sound, assured playing, and interesting music soon had me hooked. A delightful surprise.

The music is generally conservative and neo-classical in style, with a strong Hindemith influence in several of the pieces. High points include the Nyvall, Forsberg, Kullnes, and Jansson pieces. Hicks plays on the 1964 Poul-Gerhard Andersen organ in the cathedral of Skara, Sweden. His performances are clean, accurate, and engaging. His musical commitment to this repertoire is obvious in all of the pieces.

The booklet contains informative notes on the music and the organ specifications. Listening to this program has made me want to explore the other volumes of the series

— written by Robert Delcamp


Jim was recently featured in Hifimaailma Magazine.

Hifimaailma

Read the whole article here.


Nordic Journey 6

October 2016

JUST RELEASED: Nordic Journey, Volume VI (available from Pro Organo)

James D. Hicks continues his quest to discover hidden organ music treasures from Nordic composers, and to inspire new organ music from leading Nordic composers of the current age, in his sixth volume – a double CD – in his NORDIC JOURNEY series. There are TWO venues represented in Volume 6: Turku Cathedral with its 1980 Virtanen Organ, and St. Michael’s Church in Turku, with its 2002 Grönlunds Organ. Pro Organo CD 7279



May 24, 2016: Jim launches an important new mission to help fight cystic fibrosis

Today Jim Hicks begins a new quest to raise money and awareness for cystic fibrosis research. This quest is inspired by and celebrates the memory of a dear friend who battled CF. By combining Jim's musical passions and affinity for Nordic culture, this campaign will culminate with a pilgrimage of St. Olavsleden (St. Olav Ways pilgrim path from Sweden to Norway), on what would have been his friend’s 60th birthday.

Please visit the Nordic Hike website and sign up to learn about fundraisers, including concerts and other exciting experiences he is planning over the course of the next two years.


January 2016: Jim is reviewed in The American Organist


October 2015: Jim is a featured artist on The Diapason



Nordic Journey 5

September 2015

JUST RELEASED: Nordic Journey, Volume V-Many Landscapes (available from Pro Organo)

From the Faroe Islands to Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, Nordic Journey, Volume V explores the Many Landscapes of the northern world. For more about Nordic Journey, Volume V, watch here. Pro Organo CD 7271



James D. Hicks finishes recording a double-CD album, Nordic Journey V
May 7, 2015
proorgano.com

For the fifth release in his Nordic Journey series, American organist James D. Hicks has uncovered another 150 minutes of additional Nordic organ literature spanning the 19th through 21st centuries. For Nordic Journey V, Dr. Hicks has also discovered one of the finest of recently restored symphonic organs in Sweden, in Kalmar, a small city located in an out-of-the-beaten-path location in southeast Sweden. Nordic Journey V will be the premiere audio recording of the newly-restored organ of Kalmar Cathedral. The Cathedral offers sumptuous acoustics for the 4-manual symphonic organ located in its rear Gallery.

In attendance at the recording sessions, held in last few days of April, 2015, was the Norwegian composer Kjell Mork Karlsen. Mr. Karlsen has enjoyed a multi-faceted career in classical music spanning many decades. While composing for the pipe organ is but one of many musical interest, he has composed five organ symphonies. James Hicks’ recording of Karlsen’s Fourth Organ Symphony is making a considerable impact upon listeners who are now hearing it for the first time on Nordic Journey, Volume IV (Pro Organo CD 7264). In Nordic Journey – Volume 5, Mr. Karlsen’s Fifth Organ Symphony is to be featured. The final movement of the 4-movement Symphony V is a highly virtuosic movement, and is dedicated to James Hicks. The release of Nordic Journey, Volume V is expected in mid-summer 2015.


"These recordings simply must be heard"
from Choir And Organ (January/February 2015)

Review


Nordic Journey II Review
from Turun Sanomat (a newspaper in Turku, Finland)

July 12, 2014

Honored guest of Turku’s organ festival, James D. Hicks (b. 1958) performed the pieces, which were created by versatile group of Nordic composers, during his concert that was held in July of 2013. Exclusive oeuvres of Mikkola and Fredrik Isaacsson from Turku such as Sonata for organs and Melody as well as piece of work named as Introduktion Og Passacaglia from the Icelandic composer Páll Ísólfsson were being performed alongside with Hicks’ records, which are closely tangent with the pieces, which are usually performed at Cathedral.

The music recorded in Malmö during last August keeps music experience fresh in your mind. Hicks draws your attention to the Northern draught of material similar to the dark abysses. The young organist Hicks’ interest in progressive rock is also very well reflected in his play thus outlining emotional content of the music without following its genre.

This is why, for instance, Isaacson was performing in a hypnotically peaceful way like an acoustic ambient, which Hicks sets against of the Ísólfsson’s pretentious rumble and unrestrained energy. Hicks prefers to respect the rather high lines of the Mikkola’s piece, therefore sonata, which consists of three parts, is filled with a light and joy.


September 2014--Jim Broadcast on Pipedreams

Pipedreams
, the nationally-syndicated American Public Media program devoted to the music of the pipe organ, devoted an entire program to Jim's Nordic Journey series on September 22, 2014.  Tracks from all four volumes are a part of the broadcast (Pipedreams #1438), and the show includes a conversation with Jim conducted by long-time host Michael Barone, one of the world's recognized authorities on organ literature.  The interview was held in the studio of Minnesota Public Radio in St. Paul this past summer.
Click here to listen in.


June 2014

Jim was interviewed on Midday with Norman Gilliland, presented by Wisconsin Public Radio, June 26, 2014. Listen in here.

Jim was interviewed by Bill Motlong on WDRT in Viroqua, WI, June 29, 2014. Listen in here.


Upcoming Releases

Nordic Journey, Volume 4--Modern Masters

Exciting contemporary and twentieth century works for organ by composers from Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark, recorded at Västerås Cathedral, Västerås, Sweden in August 2013. Projected Release Date:  February 10, 2015, Pro Organo #7264


Nordic Journey

June 2014

JUST RELEASED: Nordic Journey, Volume 3--Swedish Folkways and Classic Traditions

Organ music from Sweden that is rooted in folk music and neo-classicism,  recorded at Skara Cathedral, Skara, Sweden in August 2013. Pro Organo #7263


Nordic Journey

April 2014

JUST RELEASED: Nordic Journey, Volume 2--The Nordic Symphonic Tradition

A program of late-romantic works for organ from Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland, recorded at St. Johannes' Church, Malmö, Sweden in August 2013. Pro Organo #7262

 


TurunSanomat

July 23, 2013

An article from Turun Sanomat (Turku, Finland) about Jim's participation as the main guest of Turku’s organ festival.

THE ORGAN PLAYS IN NORTHERN TONES
By Matti Komulainen

Read it here.


Nordic Journey

May 15, 2013

A review of Nordic Journey from Organum, a Finnish periodical.

Read it here.

 

James D. Hicks | Bernardsville, NJ | 201.486.7538 | Site, text, and images © James D. Hicks, 2017