“The passing of Ulysses Kirksey Friday evening has left a hole in the orchestral community of central Virginia. Kirksey was part of the Petersburg Symphony Orchestra for more than 40 years,” writes Sean Jones in Monday’s (8/16) Progress-Index (Petersburg, VA). At the Petersburg Symphony Orchestra, Kirskey served first as a cellist and later as music director; the orchestra announced on Friday that Kirksey died in the hospice unit of St. Mary’s Hospital in Richmond on Friday after a lengthy illness. “A Richmond native, Kirksey … was a master musician in string instruments.… In a self-interview posted to the Petersburg Symphony Orchestra’s YouTube page in 2020, Kirksey recaps his career…. Kirksey said his first instrument was … the saxophone. When he started listening to records of symphonies and classical music, he [switched to] the cello…. He auditioned for the Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra under its founding director, Edgar Schenkman. Later he enrolled at the Manhattan School of Music in New York…. Returning to Richmond in the late 70s, Kirksey received a call from Petersburg Symphony Orchestra and VSU band director Dr. Nathaniel Gatlin. Kirksey played cello for six years, rose to assistant director and later became director of the orchestra after Gatlin’s passing in 1989. He conducted until his death this past Friday.” Kirksey’s age was not disclosed in the article or by the orchestra.