“Possessed of a sure and strong technique and a vivid sense of acoustical space, Hicks delivers a rousing account of some very interesting (Finnish) repertoire, some of it composed very recently, and some of it not new, but undoubtedly new to most American listeners. Hicks’s technique is so good, and his sense of the organ so all-embracing, that one forgets them entirely and simply enjoys the music. There are few higher compliments.”
"The latest volume of Nordic Journey knocked my socks off. Not only because of the playing and recorded sound maintain the same high standards of previous volumes, but also because of the stunning organs and marvelous music. I love this recording.”
"In Nordic Journey, Volume VI, Hicks presents masterful performances of many gems from the Finnish repertoire, many of which appear in recordings for the first time.”
“James D. Hicks has enriched the contemporary Nordic repertoire by commissioning many new compositions of the highest standards. His Nordic Journey recordings have received international acclaim.”
“It is clear that (James Hicks) has an affinity for and deep understanding of this music. He possesses the technique and artistry to convey the varying contrasting emotions that spring from this land. We owe deep gratitude to Hicks for bringing to us these hidden treasures, here played brilliantly and alluringly.”
“Hicks presents a treasure-trove of music which should certainly be of great interest. These recordings simply must be heard.”
“Hicks’ double album Nordic Journey contains a discerning collection of Nordic organ compositions from a period of 150 years. The recording on the discs is terrific and the organ adjusts itself to the entire spectrum of compositional styles. And by the way, do non-Finns know how to play Finnish organ music? In light of Hicks’ Nordic Journey, the answer is yes-very well!”
“The concert was exquisitely played, and the organ’s many colorful stops were utilized for the three major works on the program. Hicks played all of these pieces with musical conviction, technical prowess, and most important with an intent to present this lesser known music to American audiences.”
James D. Hicks is a native of Fredericksburg, Virginia, USA and holds degrees in music from the Peabody Institute of Music, Yale University and the University of Cincinnati. Other studies include instruction at the Royal School of Church Music in England. He is an Associate of the American Guild of Organists. Hicks held liturgical positions throughout the eastern United States, and in 2011 retired after twenty-six years of service at The Presbyterian Church in Morristown, New Jersey.
James has performed throughout the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Europe. Most recently in 2016, he participated in summer festivals in the Åland Islands, Finland and at the historic Frederiksborg Caste, Hillerød, Denmark, where he premiered several newly commissioned works. Highlights of James' 2015 performances include appearances at the Organo Novo Festival of Contemporary Organ Music, Helsinki, Finland, International Organ Summer, Reykjavík, Iceland, and Summartónar, Faroe Islands. James was a featured guest on Pipedreams, a nationally syndicated broadcast devoted to the music of the pipe organ in 2014 (Broadcast #1438) as well as appearing in the same year on Wisconsin Public Radio. In July 2013 he participated in several organ series in Finland, including the Helsinki Organ Summer and the Turku Summer Festival. He played for Swedish National Radio in March 2012, a broadcast that included world premieres of several modern works from that country.
James has recorded seven collections of organ music on the American Pro Organo label. The first, 2003’s American Classic (Pro Organo#7187), highlights the rebuilt Austin organ at The Presbyterian Church in Morristown, New Jersey, and contains many recorded premieres of twentieth and twenty-first century American works, including two original compositions.
Nordic Journey (Pro Organo #7239), a double cd recorded on the historic 1929 Setterquist organ at Linköping Cathedral, Linköping, Sweden. Recorded and released in 2010, this collection contains compositions from the Romantic and Modern eras.
Nordic Journey, Volume II - The Nordic Symphonic Tradition (Pro Organo #7262), a single cd recorded on the rebuilt Åkerman & Lund organ at St. Johannes’ Church, Malmö, Sweden. Recorded in 2013 and released in 2014, this volume devotes itself to the Nordic Romantic repertoire.
Nordic Journey, Volume III - Swedish Folkways and Classic Traditions (Pro Organo #7263), a single cd recorded on the Andersen organ at Skara Cathedral, Skara, Sweden. This edition of the series was recorded in 2013, released in 2014, and highlights differing aspects of the Swedish school.
Nordic Journey, Volume IV - Modern Masters (Pro Organo #7264), a single cd utilizing the restored Åkerman & Lund organ at Västerås Cathedral, Västerås, Sweden. As the title suggests, this disc features works by living composers.
Nordic Journey, Volume V - Many Landscapes (Pro Organo #7271), a double cd that is the premiere recording of the new Tostareds Kyrkorgelfabrik instrument at Kalmar Cathedral, Kalmar, Sweden. Volume V was recorded and released in 2015. Works spanning the Nordic world from such far-flung nations as Iceland, Faroe Islands, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark offer a varied view of Nordic culture.
Nordic Journey, Volume VI - Organ Music From Finland (Pro Organo # 7279), a double cd that was recorded in Finland at Turku Cathedral and St. MIchael's Church, Turku. Volume VI was recorded in June 2016. The collection includes two commissioned works, and the premiere of several additional compositions from the Finnish repertoire.
Nordic Journey, Volume VIII-Islands (Pro Organo #7287) Recorded in November 2018 on the 1992 Klais organ at Hallgrímskirkja, Reykjavík, Iceland, and released in February 2019, the double cd Nordic Journey, VIII focuses primarily on music from the outlying islands of the Nordic world. Newly commissioned works by composers from Greenland, Faroe Islands, Gotland, Åland, and Härnön, appear in tandem with unpublished works from previous eras, and, in addition, several of the most celebrated masterworks from the Nordic tradition.
2019 will see James D. Hicks performing a six week, twenty concert tour of Finland, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden in preparation for three new Nordic Journey releases in 2020 (Volumes IX, X and XI), scheduled for production in venues located in Örebro, Sweden, Copenhagen, Denmark, and Pori, Finland.