Kurt Rasmussen
Dec. 12, 2022

It is with tremendous sadness that the College of Fine Arts announces the passing of longtime, beloved School of Music faculty member, Kurt Rasmussen.

Kurt, who taught the UNLV Brazilian ensemble (Mocidade Rebelde “young rebels") and our World Percussion classes, passed away during the week of Thanksgiving. He fought serious illness admirably over the past 2.5 years and leaves a five-decade legacy of percussion performance at the highest level with some of the world’s greatest musicians. He was an advocate for authenticity in the Arts and humbly worked with our percussion students to ensure they were prepared for the challenges of the performance world. 

"Kurt was an incredibly talented performer and gifted professor," said CFA dean Nancy J. Uscher. "He will be greatly missed."

Throughout Kurt’s more than 15 years as the percussionist with Cirque Du Soleil’s “O,” he would regularly bring Cirque performers to UNLV and our students to the productions on the strip to encourage collaboration and professional connections. Under Kurt’s direction, Mocidade Rebelde performed at many festivals and professional engagements around Las Vegas building an international name for authentic Brazilian Bateria performances. Some highlights include the Viva Brazil festival, Tao nightclub and Sushi Samba, and performances at the Latin Grammys. 

Kurt’s inspirational teaching through the "art of doing” and his special individualized connections to build up and promote each one of our percussion students will be greatly missed. 

He was a unique and gifted musician of the finest caliber. Our sincerest condolences to Kurt’s family and friends - Dr. Timothy Jones, Coordinator, Division of Percussion Studies.