Former James Levine students describe cultlike circle

Posted on: March 2, 2018

“They were known as ‘Levinites’—the young musical acolytes who bent to the will of James Levine in all things, back when the conductor was the brightest emerging star in conducting,” write Malcolm Gay and Kay Lazar in Friday’s (3/2) Boston Globe. “From the outside, it seemed a charmed circle; the reality inside was otherwise: dark, sexually charged, and often demeaning.” The article builds on allegations originally made in December concerning sexual misconduct by Levine that led to his suspension as music director of the Metropolitan Opera. “Interviews with nearly two dozen former students and musicians from Levine’s Cleveland days, including six from the maestro’s inner circle, indicate the conductor’s alleged sexual behavior was part of a sweeping system to control this core group…. Former members, many of whom went on to play in some of the country’s top orchestras, say the maestro encouraged them to break off relationships with people outside the group. He discouraged them from reading newspapers, watching television, or going to the movies with outsiders…. Levine, 74, did not respond to repeated interview requests…. He has previously denied allegations that he sexually abused his former students.” Multiple classical musicians and conductors are among those interviewed for the article.

Posted March 2, 2018