Steve Wright presents Paul Hesselink with a plaque expressing the gratitude of the chapter for Paul’s dedication and service to the organ recital series. PHOTO CREDIT: Dorothy Riess
May. 3, 2023

UNLV School of Music adjunct organ faculty Dr. Paul S. Hesselink recently passed away. An adjunct faculty at UNLV since 1993, Dr. Hesselink played a major role in securing the university’s Maureen Jackson Smith Organ in Dr. Arturo Rando-Grillot Hall, completed in 2004 by the Rudolf von Beckerath Orgelbau of Hamburg, Germany. 

Hesselink earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in organ at Hope College. He studied musicology under a Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship at University of Michigan, completed the Master of Arts in Organ Pedagogy at Ohio State University and earned the Doctor of Musical Arts at University of Colorado, Boulder. He studied harpsichord in Paris with Davitt Moroney. 

For 26 years, Hesselink was on the faculty of Longwood University in Virginia, during which time he was awarded the Maria Bristow Starke Award for excellence in teaching. He received two National Endowment Summer Fellowships for postgraduate study: in music theory (Yale), and Schoenberg studies (University of Southern California). His article, Correspondence from the Schoenberg Legacy: ‘Variations on a Recitative for Organ, Op. 40’ was published in The Schoenberg Journal and again in The American Organist. 

Dr. Hesselink was affiliated with Nevada School of the Arts, serving as Dean for 12 years. In April 1996, he was the harpsichordist for the world premiere of Nevett Bartow’s Concerto for Harpsichord and Chamber Orchestra with Nevada Chamber Orchestra. He also recorded the work with the Slovak Radio Orchestra in Bratislava (MCC, The Works of Nevett Bartow). He was a member of the College Music Society, American Musicological Society, Organ Historical Society, and the American Guild of Organists. He has chaired the Organ Recital Series Committee of the Southern Nevada Chapter of the AGO since the inception of the recital series; the chapter has presented more than 50 organ recitals since the series was begun in 2006.

We highly encourage you to attend the upcoming DeuxVoix organ and trumpet recital on Friday, May 12 at Doc Rando Hall, the last Southern Nevada AGO concert of the season’s Paul Hesselink Recital Series with the von Beckerath organ. 

Our hearts go out to Dr. Hesselink’s family, friends, students and many fans. He will be greatly missed.