New allegations of sexual harassment in the classical music field generated headlines this summer. In a July Washington Post article, Anne Midgette and Peggy McGlone reported on their six-month investigation in which more than 50 musicians described widespread harassment and sexual assault. The article detailed descriptions by multiple female instrumentalists and vocalists of sexual harassment by William Preucil, the Cleveland Orchestra’s longtime concertmaster, as well as other figures in classical music. The Cleveland Orchestra placed Preucil on paid suspension in July, after opening its own inquiry, and Preucil has resigned from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he was on faculty. In September, the Cleveland Orchestra also suspended Massimo La Rosa, its principal trombone, on unspecified charges. In the wake of the Post article, stage director and artist manager Bernard Uzan resigned as co-director of Florida Grand Opera’s young artist studio, and Daniele Gatti was dismissed as principal conductor of the Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam.
In September, the New York Philharmonic placed Liang Wang, its principal oboe, and Matthew Muckey, associate principal trumpet, on unpaid leave after a five-month internal investigation into sexual harassment. Wang and Muckey both deny the charges. Katherine Needleman, principal oboe of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, has filed a complaint against the orchestra with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, following the orchestra’s independent review of her allegations of harassment and retaliation beginning in 2005 by concertmaster Jonathan Carney. Carney denies the charges. The investigation, as reported in the Washington Post, concluded that the orchestra did not have a hostile work environment, but recommended sensitivity training for Carney and anti-harassment training for all employees. In the U.K., the Incorporated Society of Musicians and the Musicians’ Union released a Code of Practice “to tackle and prevent bullying, harassment, and discrimination in the music sector.”
The League of American Orchestras encourages its members to follow best practices in preventing sexual harassment and in responding to claims, and has posted resources on how to do so at https://americanorchestras.org/learn/equity-diversity-and-inclusion/gender-equity/sexual-harassment-prevention/.