Since 2014 church organ player Paul Houdijk has been working on his PhD project on the musical and aesthetic developments of the Dutch 19th-century church organ builder Michael Maarschalkerweerd.
One of Maarschalkerweerd’s most impressive organs can be found in the St. Catharina cathedral in Utrecht, where Paul played the organ during countless services since 1978. Paul’s research concentrated on discovering – through improvising and experimenting with different kinds of repertoire, different techniques, and different orchestrations – the musical possibilities and impossibilities of several Maarschalkerweerd organs in The Netherlands.
In 2017 Paul was diagnosed as gravely ill and although he tried to take up his research after a period of rest, he had to decide to terminate his PhD project in May 2019. On behalf of The Academy of Creative and Performing Arts, and especially on behalf of his supervising team, consisting of Hans Fidom (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam), Frans de Ruiter, and Marcel Cobussen we wish Paul all the best and lots of strength.