Renowned US violin teacher is arrested for transporting a minor for sex

Renowned US violin teacher is arrested for transporting a minor for sex


norman lebrecht

October 29, 2020

The former University of Michigan professor Stephen Shipps was arrested today at his home in Ann Arbor on two charges of transporting a minor girl across state lines for the purpose of sexual activity.

Shipps, 67, is accused that he ‘knowingly transported a young girl, who was under 18 years old, across state lines, and Shipps intended to engage in sexual activity with her.’ If convicted, he could face 15 years.

He retired from the university 18 mnoths ago amid accusations of sexual misconduct.

Here’s the court page with fuller details.

And this is is official bio as teacher, player and concertmaster:

He studied with Josef Gingold at Indiana University, receiving a B.M., M.M. and Performer’s Certificate in Violin Performance. He also studied with Ivan Galamian and Sally Thomas at the Meadowmount School and with Franco Gulli at the Academia Chigiana in Siena, Italy. He has appeared as soloist with the symphony orchestras of Indianapolis, Dallas, Omaha, Seattle and Ann Arbor, as well as the Piedmont Chamber Orchestra and the Madeira Bach Festival. He began his career as a member of the Cleveland Orchestra, Associate Concertmaster of the Dallas Symphony and Concertmaster of the Dallas Opera, Concertmaster and Associate Conductor of the Omaha Symphony and the Nebraska Sinfonia. Mr. Shipps performed for three decades as violinist of the Amadeus and Meadowmount Piano Trios. Mr. Shipps has recorded for American Gramophone, Bay Cities, NPR, RIAS Berlin, Hessiche Rundfunk, Melodiya/Russian Disc and Moscow Radio. His solo work on the Mannheim Steamroller Christmas Albums yielded a dozen gold and eight platinum records and a Grammy nomination. Mr. Shipps has served on the faculties of Indiana University, the North Carolina School of the Arts and the Banff Centre in Canada. He is regularly invited to give master classes at the major Conservatories of the Czech Republic and Germany and gives annual master classes at the Colburn School in Los Angeles.  In summer seasons, Mr. Shipps teaches and performs at the Innsbrook Institute and Center Stage Strings and is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Cambridge International String Academy at Trinity College, Cambridge in the United Kingdom, now in its sixth season.


  • violafan says:

    Absolutely disgusting.

    • Christopher Clift says:

      If found to be true, the allegations ARE disgusting, but please remember that he has been arrested, but NOT yet tried in court and found guilty. Most countries have a policy of innocent until proven guilty, NOT guilty unless proved innocent.

  • Skippy says:

    Now he’s renowned.

    Not sure I would have called him renowned before words of his “habits” broke out.

    • David K. Nelson says:

      Renowned enough to record for Melodiya, and I reviewed at least two of those CDs for Fanfare. A very skilled violinist. And my own teacher remembered him well from Indiana U. So within the violin world, yes a certain level of renown.

  • Papageno says:

    Innocent until proven guilty in the court of law.

    • Bone says:

      Obviously you haven’t hung around ‘Murika lately…

    • Anon says:

      You don’t get accused of this if you’re innocent. Disgusting. Go to hell, both of you idiots.

      • Karl says:

        False accusations are common. Duke Lacrosse, Brian Banks, Bill Clinton, Joe Biden, Brett Kavanaugh, the Tawana Brawley case, Hofstra University gang rape case.. you can google and find many more.
        Even if convicted the rate of wrongful convictions in the United States is estimated to be somewhere between 2% to 10%.

    • Bruce says:

      Interesting how people turn that honorable tradition into “the accuser is guilty [of lying] until proven innocent.”

  • J says:

    1. What’s wrong with these people?
    2. Throw away the key.

  • Hayne says:

    Who the hell does he think he is? Hunter Biden?

  • fflambeau says:

    Where are the same charges for G. Maxwell, J. Epstein, D. Trump?

  • Terence says:

    Power corrupts…

  • Sharon says:

    When did the incident purportedly happen?

  • Brettermeier says:

    Linked article: “40 years of sexual misconduct”

    Yeah, maybe it’s time to address that.

  • Rogerio says:

    If you wanted to create a setting conducive to unchecked sexual misconduct, a good starting point would be to put in place a culture of Master and Disciple like you have in the world of classical music, wouldn’t you? Think of that the next time you want to post a story on SD telling us how great you Master was and how semi-great you must be for having been a good Disciple.

  • Tribonian says:

    Innocent until proven guilty?

  • mary says:

    The University of Michigan music school sure knows how to pick ’em. David Daniels, Stephen Shipps…

    • Bill says:

      A careful reading of the pages here will aid in constructing a list of other music schools who have had flawed individuals on the faculty. Curtis and Cleveland immediately come to mind, and those are just two where someone was actually sacked; certainly accusations have been made elsewhere, probably with good reason. Not living in Europe, I don’t keep close watch on the shenanigans there, but it seems we’ve had quite a few cases in the UK, at least one in Germany, etc. Maybe, just maybe, Michigan was hiring from the same tainted pool, and there’s a systemic issue to be addressed here? Probably foolish to think that if you’ve dispatched one high-profile offender that you’ve made significant progress in the big picture. Like catching a rat in a trap but ignoring the hole in the wall where they come in…

  • Survivor says:

    I am a survivor of child sexual abuse. I guarantee you that there is a circle of administrators, faculty, and University officials who knew about this for years, ignored it, turned a blind eye, and swept it under the rug. They should be called to account as well. I hope the victims can find some peace and healing. Firing abusers is far too late of an action and usually happens when it can no longer be ignored. How many students were abused by these people? Many will never talk and will live with it for the rest of their livers.

    • Violips says:

      I’m so sorry for what you must have gone through, and I imagine still are dealing with. No doubt people knew, and what needs to change is that people need to recognize it matters not what someone’s industry credentials are when they’re using that power to abuse students, whether emotionally, sexually, or both. Administrators and such treat the person’s credentials as paramount, not realizing that any good those offer an institution or art is UTTERLY negated by the ripple effect of pain their selfish, perverse behaviors cause.

      • esfir ross says:

        French composer Henry Littolf married his 15 year old student. It was his 5th marriage and he was in his 70th. No charges.

  • Mozart says:

    Utter sickness… shame on that guy… he needs help… a little late.. he got away with it numerous times!