Sietze de VriesSietze de Vries is an international concert organist and church musician.
His activities are focused on three main themes:

  • The promotion of historic organs, most especially in the Dutch province of Groningen.
  • The performance of the art of improvisation.
  • Encouraging enthusiasm for both in younger generations.

These three activities are united in the Orgel Educatie Centrum Groningen, (‘Groningen Organ Education Centre’) of which Sietze de Vries is the Artistic Director. In this role, he is one of the organists of the historic Hinsz organ in the Petruskerk in Leens and of the Schnitger organ in the Jacobikerk in Uithuizen.

In addition to these two instruments, a significant number of the famous Groningen organs are used for various activities such as concerts, excursions and lessons. Students from both within the Netherlands and from abroad flock to Groningen to study, and the many organ excursions are testament to a vital and active organ culture.

Sietze de Vries received his organ education from, among others, Wim van Beek and Jos van der Kooy with whom, and with Jan Jongepier, he also studied improvisation. He completed undergraduate and postgraduate organ studies as well as the Dutch professional church music diploma, specialising in improvisation. Sietze de Vries won no fewer than 15 prizes at national and international organ competitions, some whilst still a student at the Conservatories of Groningen and The Hague. These included first prize at the 2002 International Organ Improvisation Competition in Haarlem, where he had been a finalist in the previous two editions.

Sietze de Vries is internationally active, performing in many European countries as well as in the United States, Canada, Russia and Australia. As an (improvisation) teacher he is much in demand, holding the posts of Visiting Professor at Southern University in Collegedale TN (USA), at the McGill Summer Organ Academy in Montreal (Canada) and the Prins Claus Conservatorium in Groningen (NL).

The combination of literature and improvisation, always adapted to the instrument in question, is the trade mark of Sietze de Vries’s performances, both in concert and on CD, many of which have been released on his own label JSB-records. These have been critically acclaimed, selling many copies worldwide.

In addition to his work as a performing and teaching organist, Sietze de Vries is also internationally active as a leader of tours to historic organs. He also lectures, gives masterclasses and devises programmes for children around the organ. His involvement in the development of young talent also extends to his accompanying of the Roden Boys Choir, the Roden Girl Choristers and the Kampen Boys Choir all of whom perform in the Anglican tradition. In addition he regularly publishes articles in international magazines about church music, improvisation and also organbuilding, about which he edits articles for the Dutch magazine ‘Het Orgel’.