Delbert Disselhorst dead at 81

September 6, 2022
Delbert Disselhorst
Delbert Disselhorst

Delbert Disselhorst, 81, of Iowa City, Iowa, died September 1. He was born November 3, 1940, in Keokuk, lowa, and attended public schools in Hamilton, Illinois. He enrolled at the University of Illinois where he graduated as a Bronze Tablet Scholar in 1962. Disselhorst was awarded a Fulbright scholarship for study with Helmut Walcha in Frankfurt, Germany. He returned to the United States in 1964 and earned a Master of Music degree in organ from the University of Illinois the following year.

Disselhorst taught at Hastings College, Hastings, Nebraska, from 1965 until 1968. He then went to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and graduated with a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in organ in 1970, receiving the Palmer Christian citation as a distinguished graduate of the organ department.

Disselhorst was professor of organ at the University of lowa, Iowa City, from 1970 until his retirement in 2008. He was affiliated for many years with Phyllis Stringham concert management, Waukesha, Wisconsin, and played recitals and gave masterclasses throughout the United States and in Germany, France, Denmark, and Korea. He was guest artist at international festivals and concert series including the International Organ Days at Trier Cathedral in Germany; the Freiburg Munster; and the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. He played at regional and national conventions of the American Guild of Organists and served as visiting professor of organ at the University of Notre Dame for the 2011–2012 academic year. Disselhorst recorded on the Arkay and Pro Organo labels. His two volumes of the chorale preludes of Helmut Walcha recorded at First Presbyterian Church in Springfield, Illinois, were released by the Naxos label in 2013. Recordings of an all-Bach recital that Disselhorst played in 1999 at Clapp Recital Hall on the University of Iowa campus are available at

Disselhorst served on the board of directors for Iowa City Early Keyboard Society. He was a long-time member of Trinity Episcopal Church, Iowa City, before joining First Presbyterian Church, Iowa City, where he was a member at the time of his death. Memorial contributions in Disselhorst’s memory may be made to the Frederick T. Rahn, Jr., Memorial Fund at the University of Iowa College of Music, payable to the University of Iowa Center for Advancement, P. O. Box 4550, Iowa City, Iowa 52244; or Bethel Presbyterian Church, Hamilton, Illinois.

A memorial service for Delbert Disselhorst will be held September 24 at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Iowa City. Burial will take place at Oakwood Cemetery, Hamilton, Illinois.


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