Body in holiday suitcase is named as US composer’s widow

Body in holiday suitcase is named as US composer’s widow


norman lebrecht

August 14, 2014

A body found in a suitcase in a luxury resort on Bali has been identified as that of Sheila von Wiese Mack.

Mrs Mack, 62, was the widow of James Mack, a prolific Chicago composer who composed and made arrangements for both jazz and classical orchestras, which he often conducted on record.

Among his greatest hits, with jazzman Ramsey Lewis, was ‘Classical Encounters’ recorded in 1988 with the London Philharmonic. James Mack was head of the music department at Harold Washington College and music director of First Presbyterian Church of Chicago in Hyde Park. He died in 2006.

His wife, Sheila, worked as a researcher for Senator Ted Kennedy and did a PhD in literature under Saul Bellow’s supervision.

The Macks’ teenaged daughter has been arrested as a suspect in the murder, together with her rapper boyfriend.


sheila mack


  • william osborne says:

    The term rapper boyfriend is problematic. Would one refer to a murderer as a jazzer boyfriend, or as a rock-and-roll boyfriend? One thinks of the murders of Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G., and other acts of violence associated with the genre. And one thinks of how a company called Death Row Records built the careers of Snoop Dog, Dr. Dre, and Tupac Shakur.

    Is “murderer boyfriend” thus a fair legacy of the Gangsta ethos? Or was the ethos in reality an ironic social construct that served as a response to racism?

    To make matters even more complex, hip-hop is also associated with a culture of misogyny:

    Much for intelligent discussion, though this is unlikely to happen here or in any other forum, including those for composers…

  • Theodore McGuiver says:

    Heartwarming stuff.

  • Maestro M says:

    One more death attributable to hip-hop?