James Brown

Organ & Harpsichord Department Chair, Organ & Harpsichord Faculty
Program Area: 
Private Instruction
Group Lessons
Adult Studies
With Music Institute of Chicago since: 

James Russell Brown holds degrees from Oberlin (B.M.) and New England Conservatory (M.M.) in organ performance.  His principal teachers have included Yuko Hayashi, David Boe, and William Porter (organ), and Lisa Goode Crawford, William Porter, and Lenora McCroskey (harpsichord).

Significant teachers and mentors: 

Yuko Hayashi, organ; David Boe, organ; William Porter, harpsichord; Lisa Goode Crawford, harpsichord; Lenora McCroskey, harpsichord

Teaching philosophy and areas of expertise: 

I enjoy students of all backgrounds. However those who gravitate toward organ & harpsichord tend to be bright and intellectual - whether young or old.

Awards and achievements: 

As a performer, he has been presented in recital at National Cathedral, Harvard University, The University of Vermont, The University of Connecticut, Stetson University, and the Methuen Summer Organ Series, among others.  In the Chicago area, he has appeared with The City Musick, Chicago Baroque Ensemble, His Majestie’s Clerkes, and Bach Week in Evanston, and has performed solo recitals at Loyola University, Holy Name Cathedral, St. James Cathedral, Fourth Presbyterian Church, St. Chrysostom’s Church, St. Luke’s Church (Evanston), and the Presbyterian Homes (Evanston).  In August 2010 he was organist in residence for a week at Canterbury Cathedral, supporting the NIU Chamber Choir who sang services daily.

Professional affiliations & activities: 

Mr. Brown served in an administrative capacity for many years at the Music Institute of Chicago, one of the largest and most prestigious community music schools in the country, where he was Vice President for the Evanston campus. He is currently the Chairman of the Organ and Harpsichord Program which is centered at the Evanston campus, the home of a magnificent 1914 E.M. Skinner organ, which received a complete historic restoration under his leadership.  Since 1985 he has served as Organist and Director of Music for St. Giles Episcopal Church, Northbrook, organ by Hellmuth Wolff, 1993.   In Massachusetts, he was on the faculty of Bradford College, Regis College, and Shady Hill School, and served as summer organist and director for The Memorial Church, Harvard University.
He is also on the Board of Trustees, American Guild of Organists, North Shore Chapter; and a Board Member for the Baroque Band.

Interests outside of music: 


Favorite practice tip: 

Do it every day... some days will be inspired, others not -do it anyway!

Favorite composer or piece to play: 

Bach - Schmueke dich, O liebe Seele, Widor - Andante sostenuto (Symphonie Gothique), Messiaen - Apparition de l'Eglise eternelle