Recital Series Named for Long-time Programming Chair Dr. Paul S. Hesselink
On June 7, during the Organ + Choir Festival, the chapter announced the naming of its annual concert series after long-term program director and concert organizer, Dr. Paul S. Hesselink.
The SNC:AGO has produced free fine arts concerts featuring the pipe organ for more than 50 years. During his fourteen-year tenure, Hesselink organized and produced 69 concerts: 13 by foreign artists, 35 by visiting American artists, and 21 recitals by chapter members. Under Hesselink’s guidance, the series has grown in reputation and significance, attracting world renowned concert artists, as well as up-and-coming performers to Las Vegas.
Chapter Dean Steven R. Wright said, “Thanks to Paul’s guidance and hard work, our concert series is one of the most sought after in the country. We don’t have to work hard to recruit concert artists; they seek us out. They want to play Las Vegas, to be a part of what Paul has built here.”
The adjunct professor of organ at UNLV since 1993, Hesselink played a major role in securing the university’s Maurine Jackson Smith Organ in the Dr. Rando-Grillot Recital Hall within the Lee & Thomas Music Center. The instrument was completed in 2004 by Rudolf von Beckerath Orgelbau of Hamburg, Germany, and most of the concerts produced by Hesselink have been performed on this instrument.
After earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in organ at Hope College, Hesselink studied musicology under a Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship at University of Michigan. He completed the Master of Arts in organ pedagogy at Ohio State University and earned the Doctor of Musical Arts in organ performance at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Dr. Hesselink studied harpsichord in Paris with Davitt Moroney.
Hesselink was on the faculty of Longwood University for 26 years. He received two National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Fellowships for postgraduate study: in music theory (Yale), and Schoenberg studies (USC).
Moving to Las Vegas in 1993, Hesselink began an affiliation with the Nevada School of the Arts as a board member, and as its dean for twelve years. He is a past-dean of the SNC:AGO and continues to serve on the organization’s executive board.
Wright continued, “The recital series is our most important, most visible service to Southern Nevada. It fits in perfect alignment with the mission of the AGO and Paul has done an incredible job. Our executive board voted unanimously to give him this tribute and to recognize him for his years of wonderful leadership and contributions to its success.”