Raven Wilkinson, whose death has been reported, was the first African-American to join a manor international company when she signed with Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in 1955.

After six years with the company, five of them as soloist, she auditioned and was turned down by New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre and the Metropolitan Opera Ballet.

After a stint working in a department store, she found a niche with Dutch National Ballet. In 1974, she joined New York City Opera.


The Royal Scottish National Orchestra has named Alistair Mackie as its next chief executive, starting in April.

He is co-principal trumpet and ex-chairman of London’s Philharmonia Orchestra, but a Scot at heart.

Mackie stood in as managing director of the Philharmonia after David Whelton’s retirement and has been preparing the orchestra for transition when Esa-Pekka Salonen steps down as music director.

He says: ”m honoured and excited to be taking up the position of Chief Executive with the RSNO. The first orchestral concert I ever attended was a performance of The Planets at the Kelvin Hall with the Scottish National Orchestra and throughout my teenage years I was repeatedly inspired by the unique energy and musicality of this amazing ensemble. It’s no small part of why I chose to pursue a career as a professional musician.

‘As the RSNO begins the next phase of its life with new Music Director Thomas Søndergård I believe there are unparalleled opportunities for this outstanding ensemble. With strong support from the Scottish Government the opportunity exists to have world-class music-making open and accessible to absolutely every member of Scottish society. Established and emerging digital platforms give new possibilities of reaching global audiences with the message of a vibrant Scottish musical scene.’


From the LA Phil:

In order to ensure maximum recovery time from tendinitis of the left arm, pianist Lang Lang very much regrets that he can only proceed with two performances of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2, instead of the previously announced five concertos for the upcoming Lang Lang and Beethoven series at Walt Disney Concert Hall. The following pianists will join Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic to perform the other concertos: Beatrice Rana, Conrad Tao, Yulianna Avdeeva, and Javier Perianes.


It has been a year of sad and sudden departures, many of them far too young:


Noam Sheriff


Oliver Knussen

Dieter Schnebel

Glen Roven

Martin Dalby

Milko Kelemen

Bo Nilsson

Jóhann Jóhannsson, 48

Matt Marks, 38

Daniel Barkley, 28



Gennady Rozhdestvensky

Enoch zu Guttenberg

Jesús López Cobos

Jean-Claude Malgoire

Harold Farberman

Edward Simons, 101


Violinists, violists:

Wanda Wilkomirska


Levine Andrade

Anshel Brusilow

Herman Krebbers

Michael Tree

Didier Lockwood

Nina Beilina



Philip De Groote

Jean Grout

Nelson Cooke



Ivan Davis

Lívia Rév, 101




Montserrate Caballe

Claudio Desderi

Maxim Mikhailov

Sylvia Geszty

Carlo Cava

Teo Maiste



Music biz:

Charles Hamlen

Lee Lamont

Robert Rattray

Olimpia Gineri



It is reported that Stephen Shipps, 66, accused of 40 years of sexual misconduct, will retire from the University of Michigan’s School of Music in May 2019.

In an email obtained by the student newspaper, Shipps said:

... Yesterday, I received a letter from Dean Gier thanking me for my years of service and placing me on Administrative Leave for the Winter Semester. We agreed that my retirement date would be May 31, 2019. So, with that agreement, I will not be returning to the SMTD.

I ask all of you to honor Dean Gier, as he is a wonderful leader placed in a very difficult position. He has been very fair with me and is a kind man. I am sure he will come up with both a short-term and a long-term solution to this issue. Finally, as part of the terms of the agreement, Dean Gier has requested that I not have contact with my class. I will honor this requirement and I request that you do too, as difficult as that may be….


From the South London Sinfonia:

Our fearless leader Brian Wilshere, for professional and personal reasons, is going back to Derby. We are searching for a new Music Director to take us to the next level. If you are, or know of someone who is, a professional and experienced conductor, please message us here.