Timothy J. Tikker

1958 -

Timothy J. Tikker, organist, composer, and improviser, is enjoying a distinguished career in all three areas. He graduated magna cum laude with a B.Mus. in organ performance in 1983 from San Francisco State University, studying analysis with Wayne Peterson and Eileen Soskin and counterpoint with Herbert Bielawa and Robert Nixon. 

While completing an M.Mus. in organ performance at the University of Oregon at Eugene, Tikker studied improvisation with Guy Bovet and fugue with Harold Owen. Supported by a Ruth Lorraine Close Award from the UO School of Music, he subsequently studied organ and improvisation in Paris, France, with famed organist-composer Jean Langlais, who called Tikker "one of the most gifted temperaments I have ever encountered."

He subsequently took master classes under Xavier Darasse, André Isoir, Daniel Roth (Haarlem Academy, Netherlands) and Ewald Kooiman (Toulouse). He completed a D.M.A. in organ performance at the University of Michigan in 2013, studying with Marilyn Mason.

Tikker has played and won in numerous performance competitions, taking first prize in the San Anselmo Organ Improvisation Competition in 1987 and second prize in the Fuller Festival's Competition in the French Tradition at Mechanics Hall, Worcester, in 1985. His solo CD recording, Charles Tournemire: The Last Symphonic Organ Works (Arkay Records), has been praised by critics in the US and England.

His composition Variations sur un Vieux Noël (Variations on an Old French Carol) received its world premiere in October 1993, in a concert celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Reuter organ at Central Presbyterian Church in Eugene, Oregon. The work, which he performed for that event, is dedicated to Kenneth and Julia Narducci of Riverside, California.

The composition won the 1993/94 biennial North American organ composition competition sponsored by the American Guild of Organists, the unanimous choice of a panel of three internationally noted judges from more than thirty different works submitted by composers from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.  The award included a $2,000 cash prize, publication of the work by Hinshaw Music in 1994, and a performance by David Dahl at the 1994 AGO National Convention in Dallas, Texas. Tikker gave its first European performance in Stadtkirche, Hannover, Germany, in April 1998.

In 1997, he won first Prize in the UNESP Organ Composition Competition in Brazil, and in 2000 a finalist award in the Aliénor Harpsichord Composition Competition in the U.S.

Tikker’s compositions have been recorded on Centaur, JAV, Pro Organo, and Raven labels. A partial listing of these would include Magnificat for choir, harp, and organ; Tiento de Batalla sobre el Balletto del Granduca for organ, recorded by Diane Meredith Belcher for JAV Records; plus works for brass, choir and piano.

A second solo CD recording, Raven OAR-670, recorded by him and released in July 2003, includes his Variations sur un Vieux Noël, along with works by Dupre and Tournemire.  He has also published numerous articles in various music journals, most of them reflecting his interest in and passion for French music and organs (see listings of published writings at the end of this biography).

Jean Langlais has observed that Tikker is “without doubt, in the United States one of the best interpreters of the work of Tournemire.” He has given numerous performances of the composer’s works; written an essay on the performing of his organ music, included in a book published by the University of Michigan in 1996; and lectured and given master classes about the subject in symposiums and workshops.

Tikker is an active recitalist and has given concerts in Europe and the U.S.  Venues have included the Sacre-Coeur Basilica and Eglise St.-Sulpice in Paris; the Muensters of Konstanz and Bonn, Germany; Denver South Seventh-day Adventist Church; Green Lake SDA Church, Seattle; St Mark's Cathedral, Seattle; Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Charleston; Pacific Union College; and Walla Walla College, now University.

More recently, he was featured soloist with the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, where he played De Falla’s Harpsichord Concerto; and with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, where he performed Copland’s Organ Symphony.  He also did his first improvised accompaniment to a silent film, DeMille’s The King of Kings, at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival.

He has been active as a church musician since his teenage years. He is currently the College Organist for Kalamazoo College in Michigan and Music director/Organist at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Flint, Michigan. He has previously served as organist and choir director at the Ascension Lutheran Church in Ann Arbor, Michigan; and as organist in churches in Charleston, South Carolina, and Eugene, Oregon. While in Charleston, he was actively involved in planning and performing in the Piccolo Festival of the Arts.

Alphonse Leduc of Paris published Tikker’s translation of Olivier Messiaen's "Lecture at Notre Dame" in 2000. At the request of the publisher, he also completed a translation of Messiaen's "Lecture at Kyoto."


Sources: Timothy Tikker website (ttiker.com); Music Ministry, Journal of the Seventh-day Adventist Church Musician’s Guild, January-March 1988, 3; Other online sources.

The following listings are from Timothy Tikker’s website; ttikker.com. (2013). Please refer to that website for continuing updates and current contact information for him.

Music by Timothy Tikker


Fuga a 4: “Nun komm’, der Heiden Heiland” (1983)

Variations sur un vieux Noël [tune: “Chartres”](1986-93)(8:30):

I. Thème
II. Canzona (en trio)
III. Fonds (canon à l’octave)
IV. Flûtes
V. Berceuse
Trio (canon à la quarte)
VIII. Fugato et Final

Winner of the Holtkamp/AGO Award for Organ Composition, 1993-94. First performance: Central Presbyterian Church, Eugene, Oregon, 17 October 1993, by the composer; featured at the AGO National Convention, Dallas, Texas, July 1994, David Dahl, organist; first European performance: Stadtkirche, Hannover, Germany, 25 April 1998, by the composer; recorded by Carla Edwards, Calcante Records 020 (not released); by the composer, Raven Records OAR-670 (released July 2003). Published by Hinshaw Music, 1994.

Three Improvisations on “Austrian Hymn” (1988-):

I. Toccata (1:30)
II. Choral orné (3:00)
III. Fugato (incomplete)

First performance (I & II): Trinity Lutheran Church, Worcester, Massachusetts, November 1988, by the composer. Piccolo Spoleto Organ Festival, Charleston, SC, June 2003, by Julia Harlow

Three Gregorian Sketches, for organ (1994-96)(18:00):

I. Prelude: Kyrie (Orbis Factor)
II. Fugue: Asperges me
III. Fantasy-Paraphrase: Te Deum

First prize, Fúrio Franceschini Organ Composition Competition, Instituto de Artes, UNESP, São Paulo, Brazil, 19 November 1997. Commissioned by John-Paul Buzard, organbuilder, Champaign, Illinois. First performance of II: Chapel of St John the Divine, Champaign, Illinois, organist Christopher Young, 31 December 1995. First complete performance: simultaneously by Christopher Young, Grace Episcopal Church, Sandusky, Ohio, & the composer, Central Presbyterian Church, Eugene, Oregon, 14 April 1996. First European performance by the composer, Église de St.-Sulpice, Paris, France, 5 September 2002. Recorded by Dr. Young on the CD To Thee All Angels Cry Aloud, Pro Organo Records CD 7081.

Tiento de Batalla sobre el Balletto del Granduca (1998)(8:20)

Commissioned by Manuel Rosales, organbuilder, Los Angeles, California. First performed by Diane Meredith Belcher, United Church of Christ Congregational, Claremont, California, January 19, 1999; recorded by Dr. Belcher for JAV Records (JAV 115). First European performance by the composer, Münster, Konstanz, Germany, 25 August, 2000.

Fleurs Grégoriennes, feuilles d’orgue (2000):

I. Introït: Petite Fleur musicale (Veni Creator Spiritus)
II. Communion: Rose mystique (Ubi Caritas et Amor)
III. Sortie: Guirlandes nuptiales (Veni Creator & Ubi Caritas)

Commissioned by Guido Krawinkel, Bonn, Germany. Introït first performed 18 August 2000, Taizé Chapel of St. Johannes Lutheran Church, Charleston, South Carolina, by the composer.  Communion first performed 21 April 2011, Saint Philip’s Episcopal Church, Rochester, Michigan, by the composer.

Sequentia: Dies Iræ; Introduction & Passacaglia (1998-2003)(11:25); & Fugue: Lacrimosa (2011)

Commissioned by the Charleston Chapter of the American Guild of Organists for the Region IV AGO Convention; first performance of Dies Iræ: Cathedral of St John the Baptist (RC), Charleston, South Carolina, 5 June 2003, by the composer.

Introit: Requiem Æternam (2004; revised 2011)(8:00)

Commissioned by Donald McQuitty; first performed by Deborah Friauff at memorial service for Sylvia Culp, Kalamazoo, Michigan, 2004

Toccata Kopanitsa (2004)(7:00)

Commissioned by Brad Hughley, Music Director, St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church, Atlanta, GA, for the dedication recital series on their new organ, opus 29 of Manuel Rosales; first performance by Mr. Hughley, 9 May 2004. Recorded by Mr. Hughley for Raven Recordings, OAR-930.

Divinum Mysterium: Solemn Meditation (2008; revised 2011)(9:30)

Commissioned by Marion Metson for the 2008 National Convention of the Organ Historical Society, Seattle, Washington; first performance by Joseph Adam, St. James Cathedral, Seattle, 18 July 2008.  A recording of this performance is available on the 4-CD album Historic Organ of Seattle, OHS-08.

Other Keyboard

Variations on “Mit ganczem Willen”, for keyboard (1981-2)

First performed June 1982, Central Lutheran Church, Eugene, Oregon, by the composer

Three Bulgarian Dances, intermediate studies for harpsichord (1999)(6:45)

I. Pravo (2:00)
II. Lesnoto (2:45)
III. Ruchenitsa (2:00)

First performed 2 March 2000 at the final round of the Aliénor Harpsichord Competition, Hilton Head, South Carolina, by the composer; winner of Finalist Award. Recorded by Elaine Funaro: Centaur Records CRC 2651. Published by Wayne Leupold Editions, 2007.

Three Unlikely Gymnopédies, for piano:

I. For A.C. (1994/98)(3:56)
II. For A. S. (incomplete)
III. For O. M. (incomplete)

First performance (I): Sacred Heart Major Seminary Chapel, Detroit, Michigan, 1999, by Deborah Friauff. Second performance, 29 September 2002, First Baptist Church, Kalamazoo, MI, by the composer.

Micro-Toccata, for piano (1981) (1:10)

First performance: 29 September 2002, First Baptist Church, Kalamazoo, Michigan, by the composer


Nunc dimittis, for unaccompanied SATB choir (1981)(in English)(1:30)

Magnificat, for SATB choir, harp & organ (1999)(in English)

Two above choral works first performed 1 June 1999 by Vox Æterna, dir. Scott Atwood, Cathedral of St John the Baptist, Charleston, South Carolina, Piccolo Spoleto Festival of the Arts

Living Stones, anthem for SATB choir & orchestra (or organ) (2000)(6:45)

Commissioned by the Basilica of St Josaphat, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in commemoration of their centennial. First performance 17 November 2001 by the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra & Chorus. Performed again by the 13 October 2002. First performance of organ version at First Baptist Church, Kalamazoo, Michigan, Easter Sunday 2002.

Instrumentation:;; timp, 3 perc. hp, strings

Psalm 98, festive anthem for trumpet, organ & SATB chorus (2002)

First performance 8 June 2003 at First Baptist Church, Kalamazoo, Michigan, by the First Baptist Church Choir, Timothy Tikker, conductor, Deborah Friauff, organist, Michael McMinn, trumpet.


Mixolydian Communion Service (AKA Westminster Communion Service)(1993-1994), for unison congregation and accompaniment (2:10)

I. Kyrie
II. Sanctus
III. Memorial Acclamation
Great Amen
V. Agnus Dei

First performance: Westminster Presbyterian Church, Eugene, OR, Easter Sunday 1994

Rejoicing in Hope, hymn for congregation, choir, organ & brass (1999)(5:20)

Commissioned by the Catholic Diocese of Charleston for the ordination of Bishop Robert J. Baker, 29 September 1999; first performance on that occasion; second performance at Piccolo Spoleto Festival of Churches, June 2000

Works written for and performed in liturgies at the Cathedral of St John the Baptist, Charleston, South Carolina

Beach Spring: 4 hymn verses for brass, organ, congregation (1996-97)

Let My Tongue Be Silent, Response for Gelineau’s setting of Psalm 137 (1997)

Psalm 34 (Gelineau style) (1997)

Hosanna, for congregation, cantors, and accompaniment (1999)(duration variable)

Light of Christ, ostinato response for congregation, cantor (1999)(duration variable)

Magnificat Quinti Toni, for SATB chorus & handbells (1999)

Hosanna, for congregation, cantors, and accompaniment (2001)(duration variable)

First performance at First Baptist Church, Kalamazoo, Michigan, Palm Sunday 2001


Toccata Kopanitsa (2004/5)(7:00)

Transcription of organ work listed above. Instrumentation:;; timp, 4 perc, pn/cel, hp, strings

Sequentia: Dies Iræ; introduction & passacaglia (2003)(11:45)

Transcription of organ work listed above. Instrumentation:;; timp, 4 perc, pn, strings

Living Stones, anthem for SATB choir & orchestra (2000)(6:45)

(See full listing below under Choral Music)

Concert Band

Variations sur un vieux Noël (1986-93/2006)(8:30):

I. Thème
II. Canzona
III. Canon à l’octave
V. Berceuse
VI. Musette
Canon à la quarte
Fugato et Final

Transcription of organ work listed above.


Transcription of Mass to Saint Anthony by Lou Harrison, to be published by Peer Music, New York; for SATB unison chorus & organ, optional trumpet and/or harp


La Cattura e Interrogatorio de Gesù, for string quartet (2002)(3:30)
written for extract from Roberto Rosselini’s Il Messia

L’Ultimo Viaggio, for chamber orchestra (2007)
written for extract from Roberto Rosselini’s Anno Uno; Instrumentation: 1.1 (e.h.).1.1;; strings

Publications by Timothy Tikker

Essay “An Organist’s Journey with Franz Liszt,” in Liszt: A Chorus of Voices, published by Pendragon Press, Hillsdale, 2012.

Olivier Messiaen’s Lecture at Kyoto (translation of “Conférence de Kyoto”), Éditions Musicales Alphonse Leduc, Paris, France

Review of Jean-Louis Florentz, l’œuvre d’orgue: Témoignages croisés by Marie-Louise Langlais in the January 2011 (vol. 44, no. 1) issue of The American Organist.

Westfield Center: The Eugene Conference,” report in the December 2010 (vol. 43, no. 12) issue of The American Organist.

“Organ Works of Olivier Messiaen: Works Before the War,”  review of book by Olivier Latry and Loïc Maillé, in the October 2009 (vol. 43, no. 10) issue of The American Organist.

Appariation de l’Église Éternelle,” review of Paul Festa’s DVD, in the April 2009 (vol. 43, no. 4) issue of The American Organist.

Messiaen Plays Messiaen,” The American Organist, November 2008 (vol. 42, no. 11); the promised supplement referred to endnote 10 about the compositions of the mixtures of the organ at l’Église de la Sainte Trinité, Paris is linked here: Messiaen Article Supplement (final revision)


“La Symphonie-Choral pour Orgue de Charles Tournemire: vers une explication de sa forme,” l’Orgue, no. 278-279, 2007

Tournemire: L’Orgue Mystique Intégrale,” feature review of 12-CD set recorded by George Delvallée, The American Organist, August 2007 ( vol. 41, no. 8 )

“Organ Playing as Spiritual Discipline,” The American Organist, June 2007 (vol. 41, no. 6)

Review of two recordings of Olivier Messiaen’s improvisations, The American Organist, January 2005

Obituary of composer Jean-Louis Florentz, The American Organist, November 2004; The Diapason, October 2004

Review of Michel Bourcier’s CD of works of Jean-Louis Florentz, The American Organist, January 2004

Translation (from German) of Günther Lade’s “A Conversation with Olivier Messiaen,” The American Organist, July 2000

Edited translation (from German) of article by Guido Krawinkel, “The Klais Organbuilding Workshop of Bonn, Germany,” The American Organist, July 2001

“The Interpretation of the Organ Works of Charles Tournemire,” Hommage à Langlais, ed. Marilyn Mason, Ann Arbor, University of Michigan School of Music, 1996

Review of Index to l’Art du Facteur d’Orgues by L. G. Monette, Journal of American Organbuilding, March 1995

“Proposed Design for an Electronic Key Action,” translation (from French) of article by Dominique Fellot, The Diapason, February 1994

“The Organ at San Francisco Central SDA Church,” Music Ministry, 1989

“My Study with Jean Langlais of the Music of Charles Tournemire,” St. Paul Tournemire Symposium, St Paul. MN, July 1989

“The Organs of Olivier Messiaen,” series of four articles, The Diapason, December 1988-March 1989

Report on the 1988 Organ Historical Society Convention, The Diapason, November 1988

“Recollections of Edwin Fischer,” based on interviews with Joan Benson, Journal of the American Liszt Society, June 1987 (available online)

Articles on the history and restoration of the Cavaillé-Coll organ at Sacré-Cœur Basilica, Paris, France, The Diapason, March 1987, June 1988

Conférence de Notre-Dame,” translation (from French) of lecture by Olivier Messiaen, The Diapason, January 1985; republished in: Almut Rößler, Contributions to the Spiritual World of Olivier Messiaen, Gilles & Francke, Duisburg, 1986; revised version published by Éditions Alphonse Leduc, Paris, 2000

“On a Successful Organ in a Dry Acoustic,” The Diapason, January 1984


As Performer

Poems and Variations: Tikker at Claremont: Dupré Évocation, op. 37; Tikker Variations sur un vieux Noël; Tournemire Trois Poèmes, op. 59; Raven OAR-670

Charles Tournemire: the Last Symphonic Organ Works: Deux Fresques Symphoniques Sacrées, opp. 76, 75; Symphonie Sacrée, op. 71; Symphonie-Choral d’Orgue, op. 69; Arkay AR-6118

Historic Organs of San Francisco: Tournemire Sortie, op. 3; 2 CD OHS-88

As Composer

Historic Organ of Seattle: A Young and Vibrant History: Joseph Adam, organist, 1907 Hutchings-Votey organ, Saint James RC Cathedral, Seattle, WA: Divinum Mysterium: Solemn Meditation: OHS-08 (4 CDs; see disc 3)

Preludes, Fugues and Variations: Brad Hughley, organist, Rosales organ, op. 29, St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church, Atlanta, GA: Toccata Kopanitsa; Raven OAR-930

To Thee All Angels Cry Aloud: performed by Christopher Young on the Buzard organ at St. John the Divine Chapel, Champaign, IL; Three Gregorian Sketches; Pro Organo CD 7081

Great Organs of America: Modern Landmarks, vol. 2: Diane Meredith Belcher on the Glatter-Goetz/Rosales organ at Claremont United Church of Christ, CA: Tiento de Batalla sobre el Balletto del Granduca; JAV 115

Poems & Variations: Tikker at Claremont: Variations sur un vieux Noël; Raven OAR-670

Dances with Harpsichords: performed by Elaine Funaro: Three Bulgarian Dances; Centaur CRC 2651

As Improviser

Cecil B. DeMille’s The King of Kings; improvised organ accompaniment to silent film; E. M. Skinner organ at Jefferson Avenue Presbyterian Church, Detroit, MI; Criterion Collection DVD 266