Sunday, December 03, 2017

Not the First Public Classical Music Abuse Story in the US

Updated & more strongly worded 12/3/2017

So no, this isn't the first, as I was saying yesterday. There's the Johannes Somary case, which came out a few years ago, after his death. There've been stories about other figures in classical music for decades, including at least one prominent composer, now deceased. And there were the Chetham's and RNMC scandals in Great Britain a few years back.

But the NY Post story on James Levine is likely a surprise to very few: there've been rumors about him at least since I first heard them as a grad student back in 1980-81. And it will be no surprise that neither the Met nor Peter Gelb has responded to the report's questions about the story. (Here is Michael Cooper's NY Times story, released a few hours after that of the Post. It includes a brief statement from the Met, which is opening an investigation.)

By the way, if you have a story about someone, and you are unable to discuss it publicly, the Times has a tip hotline. Read information on how it works here. It is almost always possible to make an anonymous tip or talk to a reporter on deep background.


And now the Met and the BSO are telling us that they're shocked, shocked to hear about this. C'mon, people, this is total bullshit. If I heard about Levine in 1980-82, and a guy on Twitter heard it in Los Angeles in 1995 when he was 15 years old, there is no way that nobody on the Met Board of Directors or in management hadn't heard the stories. I mean, really: he wouldn't be abusing kids in the Met's orchestra pit, right?? Note the careful grooming of the man discussed in the Post story, whom Levine met for the first time when he was a boy of four (4) years.

The man at the center of the Post and Times reports isn't likely to be the only victim. And Levine isn't the only famous person you'll be hearing about in the next six months.

As I said to someone, or intended to say, a few weeks ago, if I were a journalist on this story, I'd be talking to the parents of Met Children's Chorus members right now. And I imagine there is enormous panic at Lincoln Center just now: how many donors, big or small, will keep giving to an institution that may have protected a child sex abuser for decades? If this is what happened, and if the company collapses, the Met will have sacrificed their entire staff for one person.

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