Six-month investigation reveals allegations of widespread sexual harassment in classical field

Posted on: July 27, 2018

“Classical music’s #MeToo moment erupted in December, when star conductor James Levine was suspended from the Metropolitan Opera after people came forward with claims of abuse,” write Anne Midgette and Peggy McGlone in Thursday’s (7/26) Washington Post. “Over a six-month period starting last November, The Washington Post spoke to more than 50 musicians … many of whom shared their stories for the first time, [describing] experiences ranging from sexual harassment to sexual assault…. Young artists in conservatories and training programs … are especially vulnerable…. A good word can open doors, a bad one shut them forever. High-profile instructors like [Cleveland Orchestra Concertmaster William] Preucil—whose alleged interaction with [violinist Zeneba] Bowers in Miami has not been previously reported—attract donors and new talent, and institutions might be reluctant to discipline them…. There is no consensus about whether the #MeToo movement will lead to meaningful change in the field. But there are signs people are starting to push back…. ‘We are going through an extensive revision of our policy right now, as everybody’s doing,” says K. James McDowell, president and artistic director of the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, a leading training center for opera singers. Artists who had been silent are telling their stories.”

Posted July 27, 2018