Ravinia Festival, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Institute of Music, Cleveland Orchestra respond to James Levine sexual misconduct allegations

Posted on: December 5, 2017


“The Ravinia Festival, where James Levine served as music director for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra‘s summer residencies from 1973 to 1993, has severed all ties with the famed conductor amid allegations of sexual misconduct currently under investigation by authorities in Lake County and at the Metropolitan Opera,” writes John von Rhein in Monday’s (12/4) Chicago Tribune. “In a terse statement released Monday night, Ravinia noted that Levine, 74, was to have begun a five-year term as conductor laureate, a new position created for him, in summer 2018. That clearly will not be the case going forward.  ’Based on recent accounts in the media regarding James Levine, Ravinia has severed all ties with (him),’ the statement read. ‘Ravinia maintains a zero-tolerance policy and culture on sexual harassment.’… The Chicago Symphony administration, for its part, has distanced itself from Levine without declaring, as yet, that it is cutting ties with him. A statement by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association, the orchestra’s parent body, on Monday afternoon [said] … ‘The CSOA finds (the Levine) allegations deeply troubling…. We understand that the Ravinia Festival is awaiting the findings of the current investigations and will take action as appropriate.’ Levine is not scheduled to conduct future concerts with the CSO at Symphony Center, according to the statement.”

“In a written statement Monday, the Cleveland Institute of Music said it learned of allegations against Levine, former music director of New York’s Metropolitan Opera, in news reports, and that it had no record or knowledge of any complaints against him during his tenure at the school from 1965 to 1972,” writes Zachary Lewis in Monday’s (12/4) Cleveland Plain Dealer. “ ‘The Institute was deeply disturbed to learn about the incidents which were reported to have occurred in Cleveland in the late 1960s and early 1970s,’ read the statement, referring to a Dec. 3 New York Times article detailing alleged instances of sexual abuse in Northeast Ohio and elsewhere. ‘The Cleveland Institute of Music is fully aware of its lawful obligations toward students, and faculty and staff are instructed in both the spirit and letter of our long-standing policies and complaint procedures regarding sexual harassment and misconduct.’ The Cleveland Orchestra, where Levine also served six seasons as an apprentice or assistant conductor under music director George Szell … released a similar statement. After noting that Levine held the positions of apprentice and assistant conductor from 1964 to 1970, and last appeared with the group in 1970, the statement said, ‘We are not aware of any complaints made during his time with the orchestra.’ ”

Posted December 5, 2017

Photo of James Levine by Ruby Washington / New York Times