Obituary: James A. Wilkinson, former Pittsburgh Symphony president and CEO, 72

Posted on: April 17, 2017

“Michael Bielski, former senior vice president of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, said he’ll never forget a conversation he had about 20 years ago after concluding contract negotiations between musicians and orchestra management,” writes Andrew Goldstein in Sunday’s (4/16) Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “ ‘I remember this musician came up to me and said, “I would follow that man anywhere,” ’ Mr. Bielski said. ‘And he was talking about Jim.’ … James A. Wilkinson … worked in various capacities for the PSO over a span of nearly 40 years, including a stint as its president and CEO from 2011 to 2015. A respected, diplomatic negotiator who had deep involvement in the Pittsburgh arts scene, Mr. Wilkinson died Saturday … of complications from several health issues, according to his wife, Susanne. He was 72…. Wilkinson served in the U.S. Navy from 1968 to 1971 before landing a job in President Richard Nixon’s White House … in the Office of Management and Budget…. Wilkinson first became involved with the PSO in 1976…. ‘Jim negotiated every labor contract going back to 1976, and I can’t think of another person who had more of an impact on the symphony than did Jim Wilkinson,’ said Richard P. Simmons, former PSO chairman.”

Posted April 17, 2017