Stephen Hick Biography
Stephen Hicks at the 1740 baroque organ in World Heritage town of Roros, the oldest functioning organ in Norway.
Stephen Hicks was born in Surrey (England) in 1949. His early training was as a pianist at Trinity College of Music, London, where at the age of 15 he passed the Licentiateship diploma, won the Billy Mayerl Scholarship and was invited to make his debut playing the Schumann Piano Concerto with the English Chamber Orchestra. His first organ lessons were with Her Majesty the Queen’s Organist, Harry Gabb, and at the age of 17 he became the youngest person to obtain the Fellowship diploma in organ playing. His playing was heard by the renowned teacher Nadia Boulanger who invited him to study with her in Paris and at the American Conservatoire in Fontainebleau.
With scholarships from the Countess of Munster Musical Trust and the British Government he remained in Paris for 4 years where his teachers along with Nadia Boulanger included Marcel Dupré (organ) and André Marchal (organ) and Rafael Puyana (harpsichord). Whilst still a student in Paris he was invited by Pierre Cochereau to play his first recital at Notre Dame Cathedral and also made his debut with the Orchestre Philharmonique de l’O.R.T.F.
He then took postgraduate studies in England with Ralph Downes (organ) and in that year became the youngest organ soloist at the Henry Wood Promenade Concerts in the Royal Albert Hall. At the end of this period Nadia Boulanger, who taught many of the composers and musicians of the twentieth century, wrote:
‘It gives me great pleasure to state the magnificent success which has closed the period of studies of Stephen Hicks. His talent is outstanding and he starts his career with all the elements of exceptional achievement.’
Since then he has played in the most prestigious cathedrals, churches and concert halls and at festivals such as the City of London, Oxford, Windsor, Harrogate, Paris, Brussels, Bruges, Ghent, Kristiansand, Bergen, Trondheim Olavsdagene and Krakow . He has given numerous concerts in Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Monaco, Belgium, Holland, Spain, Poland, Switzerland, Germany, Lithuania, Czechoslovakia, USA and Russia. His extensive repertoire encompasses every school of organ music and organ playing and to each he brings an acute sense of style and scholarship along with a highly acclaimed virtuoso technique. His performances of Bach, Cesar Franck and Marcel Dupré have been especially praised. He has recorded for EMI, RCA International and Eurydice.
His 2016 schedule has included 36 recitals in Scandanavia and a tour of Russia including the Grand Philharmonic Hall in St Petersburg, the Philharmonic Hall in Archangel and Kaliningrad Cathedral.
Since 1983 he has lived in Norway where he is Kantor/Organist at the Bergstadens Ziir (Mountain Cathedral) in Roros and Director/Founder of the Roros Organ Festival.
‘One is in the presence of a superb organist and musician … an artist in possession of real maturity’
‘An excellent organist with a brilliant and accurate technique and a fine musical interpretation’
‘I have the greatest admiration for him, for his musicianship and artistry as well as a human being’
‘Stephen Hicks was an icon for British organists in the 70s. More than 30 years later he is still a model. His concert at Bloomsbury was sensational.’
(Peter James, BOA)
‘A simply stunning recital this afternoon with Stephen Hicks who I have not heard for 33 years. An unbelievably demanding 70 minute programme delivered with technical brilliance. The Dupré/Marchal legacy lives on.’
‘It required a player of Stephen Hicks’ calm and technique to bring it off to great acclaim by the large audience in Christchurch Priory. Apart from the Karg-Elert, in which he surmounted impeccably the technical complexities of this piece, demonstrating its many colours, the programme was memorable for a dazzling performance of Bach’s G minor Fantasia and Fugue greeted with cheers. No less impressive were Marcel Dupré’s formidable Deux Esquisses ..’
(Anthony Caldicott, Karg-Elert Society)
Stephen Hicks at the new (2012) organ at Roros, Norway
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