Music in Country Churches founder is no more

alan wilkinson

Alan Wilkinson, who founded Music in Country Churches in 1989, has died at the age of 86.

An English gentleman of the old school, unfailingly courteous and polite, and backed by a formidable knowledge of music and musicians, over 27 years he arranged an annual series of high class concert weekends in some of the finest English rural churches. Names such as Bartoli, te Kanawa, Brendel, Rostropovich, Zukerman, Perahia, Lang Lang, Marriner, Kissin, Pires and von Otter, together with equally fine orchestras and ensembles, were drawn in by Wilkinson’s charm and persistence, and ensured a loyal and knowledgeable audience, raising along the way well in excess of half a million pounds to support the upkeep of English rural churches. The series will continue, but English music has lost a unique and much-loved figure.

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  • One of the real gentlemen of English music, Alan was a man of his word, loyal, honourable, warm, generous, delightfully hopeless with modern technology, and amazingly knowledgeable about vast swathes of music and musicians. The list of international performers whom he persuaded to work for MICC is a veritable “Who’s Who” of music: that these concerts have also to date raised more than £500,000 to help preserve wonderful English country churches (each concert venue carefully chosen by Alan) makes his contribution to English music all the more remarkable. I spent many happy hours on the phone and in churches with Alan talking about music, but one of my most memorable days resulted from my mentioning an enthusiasm for cricket. A few days later the phone rang, and Alan quietly enquired if I would like to come to sit with him and Rosemary in the hallowed pavilion at Lords’ and watch a match – an unforgettable and typically generous gesture.

    Requiescat in pace.

  • Indeed – a real gentleman.
    He loved cricket (I think we shared opinion on KP). In fact, I believe he gave a field to his village cricket club.

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