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Reviews

“The combination of ingenious and elegant craft with a sheer delight in organ sonority and éclat is a compelling one, and forms a veracity perhaps not always a given in ‘modern’ organ music….If you want brilliance, energy, elegance and vitality in equal measure in music that is idiomatic, beautifully crafted and hand-in-glove with its instrument, look no further.”

Choir & Organ  March/April 2010 (Jeremy Filsell “Stateside” article, p. 55)


“Pamela Decker is a formidable performer and composer whose music and playing are brimming with energy, intensity, passion, and creativity.  This is highly sophisticated, demanding music…The music is virtuosic both conceptually and technically.  Pamela Decker the organist has plenty of physical equipment to pull it off brilliantly…These works and this playing demonstrate the cutting edge of organistic creativity and possibility.” 

The American Organist  December 2009


“Decker takes us from the serious to the light-hearted, and all with solid structure, intellectual rigor, and panache…She conveys her music with excitement and technical fire.  From both the compositional and the performance viewpoint, these CDs are a tour de force.”

The Diapason  August 2009


“…one of America’s most intrepid virtuoso organists.”

Fanfare  May/June 2009 

“Pamela Decker, a renowned composer and dynamic performer, played an exhilarating program of contemporary organ music on the Harris organ…successfully evocative…a rhythmic and virtuosic tour de force [Etezady:  Wake the Dead]…”

The American Organist  May 2008 (Review of 2008 Region IX Midwinter Conclave)


“This [Decker:  Río abajo río] is gorgeous music that I highly recommend.”

The Diapason  February 2008


“The writing as well as the performance of this piece [Decker:  Portales] was virtuosic.”

The Diapason  January 2008


“An organist noble in the Bach line…as a composer-performer she falls clearly into a lineage from which Bach and Duruflé are but two points on a long and distinguished timeline…Decker reveals both a thoroughly ingrained knowledge of the existing repertory and a formidable command of the instrument and its possibilities.  It’s precisely that virtuosity that comes to the fore in Kairos (1996) and Río abajo río (1999), both of which gently push the boundaries of standard organ music…these works balance the freedom of spontaneous creation with the clear direction of a formal road map.”

Gramophone Awards Issue 2006


“With passion and precision Pamela Decker mastered the technically demanding compositions throughout the program and captivated her audience.”

Gandersheimer Kreisblatt  09/20/06


“Here is an opportunity to experience one of America’s most gifted composer-organists playing one of the country’s celebrated organs…She is a stunning virtuoso, and composes music that utilizes her formidable technical and musical abilities to the fullest.”

The American Organist  June 2006


“This [Liturgical Suite] is a skillfully composed work that is enjoyable to play and fascinating to hear.  It is musical writing in the best sense of the word.”

The American Organist  February 2006 (Frederick Swann)


“It’s rare to find a piece that is both elegant and dramatic at the same time, but this [Río abajo río] is one…exciting to listen to, an audience pleaser, while still intellectually satisfying for the player.”

Christa Rakich, prominent organ recitalist and recording artist, January 2006


“Decker’s colorful and elegantly conceived music will appeal to any collector of modern, approachable organ music.”

Records International Catalogue  January 2006


“These are difficult works that require superb technique in both manuals and pedal, and Decker is more than qualified to perform them.”

American Record Guide  January/February 2006


“Organist Pamela Decker is a vibrant example of the composer-performer…She is a confident and purposeful performer throughout…the organ’s power and versatility is always masterfully employed.  To Decker the organ is not a playground of titillating sounds, but a grand instrument whose core registers never exhaust their interest.”

Gramophone  June 2005


“High standards of performance technique figure into her music, too…As complex as the interlocking lines may be, Decker as a performer never smudges a single thing…stunning double pedal passages…Decker plays it [Home Suite Home] with the authority you would expect.  Pamela Decker’s music holds many rewards for performers and listeners alike.  In the September/October 2001 issue of Fanfare, David Denton wrote of Decker, ‘I would hope that history will find a place for this gifted musician.’  If there is any justice in the world, we shouldn’t have to wait long for history to do its job.”

Fanfare  November/December 2005


“…presented with dramatic energy…played with flawless ease…convincing interpretation of classic literature.”

Ronald Krebs, Convention Coordinator, Region V AGO Convention, 2005


“The show stopper was Pamela Decker’s new Ave maris stella variations, written for Cleveland’s recent French tour.  The work’s polytonality and complex architecture were made clear and powerful;  the closing manual toccata section over a double pedal cantus was riveting.”

PipeNotes  March 2005


“[Elegy and Dances for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra] was a great success…the performance was superb, and the experience one of exhilaration.”

Tucson Citizen  09/22/03


“Admirers of Decker’s compositions will find much to admire in the set of pieces…an effective introduction to the style of a vibrant composer.”

The American Organist  May 2003


“The tango as a genre has all too often been the object of parody, but here Decker has managed to turn her highly chromatic, personal vocabulary into music that captures much of the boldness tinged with melancholy native to the finest tangos…organists who decide to tango with this music will be well rewarded by its inner skill as well as its outer wit.”

The Diapason  May 2003


“…the lure of this sophisticated work [Río abajo río] lies in its carefully constructed form, original harmonic language, and beautiful treatment of melody.  Of particular note are the serpentine chromatic harmonies that undergird the lilting melodic writing of the second movement—at once both disconcerting and irresistible.  The final movement’s orchestral scope makes room for everything from delicate arabesques to an angular tango, concluding with a thrilling toccata.  In short, this is an important addition to the literature for the organ…”

The Diapason  March 2002


Kairos makes its second CD appearance (also to be found on an all-Decker recital by Janice Beck, Albany CD-383) and proves that Pamela Decker’s music demands to be heard.”

The American Organist  February 2002


“Decker is decidedly a composer to reckon with—an organist who writes originally and idiomatically for her instrument.”

The American Organist  December 2001


“A fine example of contemporary writing, it [Río abajo río] deserves to find its way into the repertoire…”
The American Organist  December 2001


“This precision has its source in the enormous technical capability that Pamela Decker displayed.  Fast runs presented no problem whatsoever, not even in the pedal passages.  In one instance it appeared as if she were dancing…This remarkable technique was complemented by the interpretive security with which the American organist breathed life into all of the works…”

Rheinische Post (Ausgabe Geldern)  Straelen, Germany  10/09/01


“…Pamela Decker, Professor of Organ and Music Theory at the University of Arizona, Tucson, presented her dazzling virtuosity on the three-manual Seifert organ with its 43 ranks.”

Rheinische Post (Emmerich)  Emmerich, Germany  10/08/01


“As I concluded in my previous Decker review, we critics have been proven wrong over many centuries when passing judgment on composers of our time, but I would hope that history will find a place for this gifted musician.”

Fanfare  September/October 2001


“This riveting work [Banana Trumpet Games, by P.Q. Phan], given a powerful reading by Pamela Decker, was recorded at the University of Iowa in 1995.”

American Record Guide  January/February 2001


“The final chords of the Fantasía leave the listener with a sense of astonishment that is monumental and compelling…The works of these two composers [Pamela Decker and Robert Bates] certainly represented a pinnacle of talent for modern organ music.”

The Diapason  October 2000


Flores del Desierto…is in the form of three tangos for organ, and follows Piazzolla’s transformation of the dance into music for the concert hall.  It is a very outgoing, virtuoso, and high-impact work that explores the sheer power of the instrument.  Decker is a very free spirit in her stylistic allegiance…Her works are academically well argued and constructed…Above all there is a welcome fresh and invigorating quality that conveys an immediate attraction.”
Fanfare  September/October 2000


“Decker has become well known as a recitalist and composer over the last several years.  She is a skilled composer for the organ, with an intuitive sense of its capabilities and limitations.  The works on this disc display this ability to the extreme.”

American Record Guide  September/October 2000


“Pamela Decker, though not as decorated a composer as either [Libby] Larsen or [Dan] Locklair, takes no backseat to either.  Kairos assumes symphonic dimensions and textures in its shifting from restless mystery to sweeping bravura…”

Fanfare  July/August 2000


“The pieces are brilliantly performed by Pamela Decker on the Flentrop organ of St. Mark’s Cathedral in Seattle…This is music of intelligence, craft, and emotional intensity.  Decker, with her personal connection to every piece on the disc, plays them with conviction, skill, and élan.”

The Diapason  November 1998


“Dr. Decker’s Toccata had been heard the previous week as part of the repertoire for the NYACOP (National Young Artists’ Competition in Organ Playing) Semifinals;  that piece and Kairos show her to be a composer of depth, skill, and superb instincts.”

The American Organist  September 1998


“Ditto opened with appealing recent works by Pamela Decker (a pleasantly piquant Toccata) and Libby Larsen…”

The Kansas City Star  March 1998


“Dr. Decker holds a firm grasp of the complexities and the aesthetic joys of this music.  She plays effulgently and musically while restoring an important element to the equation:  the player’s expressive contribution.”

The American Organist  February 1997


“For this reviewer the most riveting and memorable moments came in Nightsong and Ostinato Dances by Pamela Decker, a long and involved work ending in a frenzied Stravinskyesque dance demanding the utmost in energy, precision, and virtuosity…”

The Diapason  November  November 1995


“I enjoyed Decker’s playing in an earlier disc (“Toccata” – Arkay 6091) and did even more so here.  She has a unique ability to make sense of difficult contemporary scores for the general listening public.   Her playing always seems to make sense and there’s joy in it.  I look forward to hearing her again.  If you like contemporary organ music or even if you are just mildly curious, this is the disc to get.”

American Record Guide  September/October 1995


“…a serious and well-crafted Toccata by Pamela Decker that is more than just a toccata;  it has an argument to present and does it in impressive and cogent terms.”

The American Organist  December 1994


“Decker packaged a shrewd collection of works stongly linked to mid-century concepts, did so with firm confidence, strong performance, and solidified her reputation as a specialist of accomplishment.”

The American Organist  August 1992


“Brilliant organist-composer Pamela Decker continues to dazzle…Her playing is consistently exciting without losing clarity…”

The Diapason  July 1991


“My first introduction to Dr. Decker’s playing was in 1984 at the AGO National Convention and I was most impressed with her performance.  This CD exhibits her considerable talents not only as a performer but also as a composer.”

The Diapason  March 1991


“Pamela Decker followed in a lecture-recital on 20th-century music, including one of her own pieces, in which considerable virtuosity revealed many complexities treated in highly imaginative ways.”

The American Organist  March 1990


“Decker’s performance is exemplary.  She is captivating…”

American Record Guide  November/December 1990


“Decker exhibits a formidable technique.” 

American Record Guide  September/October 1988