James Kibbie was born in 1949 in Vinton, Iowa, USA. He graduated from Davenport West High School in 1967. He holds a Bachelor of Music in Organ Performance from North Texas State University (Magna cum Laude, 1971), the Master of Music in Organ Performance from North Texas State University (1972), and the Doctor of Musical Arts in Organ Performance from the University of Michigan (1981). He won the International Organ Competition of the Prague Spring Festival in the former Czechoslovakia in 1979 and the Grand Prix d'Intérpretation at the International Organ Competition "Grand Prix de Chartres” in France in 1980. He joined the University of Michigan organ faculty in 1981 and is currently Professor of Organ, Chair of the Organ Department and Curator of the Frieze Memorial Organ. A number of his former students hold positions as college professors and church musicians. The University of Michigan has endowed the James Kibbie Scholarship in perpetuity to support students majoring in organ and church music.
Kibbie has presented recitals, masterclasses and workshops throughout North America and Europe, including appearances at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, Royal Festival Hall in London, Dvořák Hall in the Rudolfinum in Prague and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York. His performances have been broadcast on radio and television in the USA, Canada and Europe. His recordings have been issued on a variety of labels in North American and Europe (see Discography). Since 2002 he has released annual holiday recordings on the seven-stop Létourneau mechanical-action organ in his home.
Complete Organ Works of J.S. Bach
James Kibbie performed the complete organ works of Johann Sebastian Bach in a series of 18 recitals at the University of Michigan in 2000. From 2007 to 2009 he recorded the complete works on seven historic baroque organs in Germany built by Gottfried Silbermann, Arp Schnitger and Behrendt Huß, Tobias Heinrich Gottfried Trost, Erasmus Bielfeldt, and Zacharias Hildebrandt. These recordings are available as free internet downloads at www.blockmrecords.org/bach. The project was funded by Dr. Barbara Furin Sloat in honor of J. Barry Sloat, with additional support from the University of Michigan.
James Kibbie – Bach Organ Works, free downloads of the complete organ works of Johann Sebastian Bach recorded on seven historic baroque organs in Germany: Block M Records, 2007–2009 www.blockmrecords.org/bach
The Annual Holiday Recordings, recorded by James Kibbie on his residence organ and issued as audio "holiday cards” at www.umich.edu/~jkibbie