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James Levine: A Verbier statement

December 7, 2017 by norman lebrecht

108 comments.


In response to concerns raised by a former Festival Orchestra violinist in a message to Slipped Disc:

 

The Verbier Festival is aware of the recent allegations of sexual harassment made against conductor James Levine. We are profoundly disturbed and saddened by these accusations.

James Levine participated in eight consecutive editions of the Verbier Festival (1999-2006). He has not returned to the Verbier Festival since 2006 and no future engagements are either confirmed nor anticipated.

The Verbier Festival maintains a strict zero-tolerance policy in regard to sexual harassment. Since the Festival’s founding in 1994, it has not had any such incidents. Were an allegation to occur, the Festival would treat the report seriously, support the victim, and act swiftly in compliance with its sexual harassment reporting protocol.

Sexual harassment is abhorrent. We are committed to reviewing and, as necessary, strengthening our current policies and procedures in light of current events.

 

Martin Engstroem


Comments (108)

  1. Ungeheuer says:

    Standard legalese boilerplate. What of “Jimmy will be Jimmy”? No statememts on that?

    1. The View from America says:

      Yep, the legal pabulum. How come we are not surprised?

      1. Ungeheuer says:

        Verbier’s lawyers might as well copy & paste the fine print in their phone bill as apologia. Means the same. And cheaper, in more ways than one.

  2. pot'nkettle says:

    I am a Verbier alumnus, and this statement is rich with hypocrisy and untruth, made by someone who publicly dated a fellow Verbier student. Not only did the Festival not warn us of the dangers of sexual interactions with conductors, coaches or staff, they fully engaged in these behaviors themselves and set up frequent extravagant parties in Verbier and on world tour where musicians would find themselves in compromising situations with conductors, coaches and staff. Being invited out personally by Martin Engstroem to meet Levine at a hotel for drinks was considered an honor; I know, it happened to me too. Many friends got themselves in difficult situations with mentors, and even now, so many years later, it has had a chilling effect on many careers. Verbier has a responsibility to come clean about past mistakes, and provide a safe learning environment for future musicians. As far as follow-up on complaints, I was groped by a conductor at Verbier and called the personnel manager. Her response: she gave me his personal cell phone number.

    1. Ungeheuer says:

      Wow!

    2. William Osborne says:

      This description sound very familiar to me. In Germany’s music conservatories, and in conservatories in other parts of Europe, student/professor sexual relationships have long been tolerated. The practice of forbidding them, as is often the case in the States, is very rare, and professors face few, if any, sanctions for having them.

      And even if the relationships cause problems and the students complain, there are few administrative or policy mechanisms in place to deal with them. The result is that the students seldom complain, and if they do, they are often brushed aside. I can thus well believe that there is a contrast between the Verbier statement and actual practice.

      The case described in the link below about Munich’s University of Music boggles the imagination. A married composition professor with children was known for liaisons with students. He finally faced rape charges after taking a student to a sex club and allegedly blackmailing her into having sex with multiple partners. This is the same conservatory where Siegried Mauser was convicted of sexually assaulting two colleagues. I believe Mauser is currently facing new charges that are even more serious.

      On the positive side, I think that at least in Germany, there is some movement toward creating more professional standards for professors, though I’m not certain how widespread these reforms are, or how successful.

      http://www.sueddeutsche.de/muenchen/muenchen-wieder-gravierende-vorwuerfe-gegen-musik-professor-1.3075233

      1. Been Here Before says:

        I have heard about many marriages on the continent where the romance began as a professor – student relationship. Not only at the conservatories, but at the regular universities and even gymnasiums, too (Mr. & Mrs. Macron being one of the more extreme cases). Over there such relationships are tolerated and better accepted, as opposed to the Anglo-Saxon countries. However, the stories which William brought forward are truly shocking! I have heard of cases where professors assaulted and blackmailed students, and even of students seducing professors and blackmailing them to get a better grade. However, these were always reported and sanctioned, never ignored.

        1. John Borstlap says:

          There is a difference between harrassment and the flowering of relationships. It seems that quite a few professors in powerful positions are not aware of this.

          What began as the opening of a can of worms, seems by now to have turned into some sort of indecency Tchernobyl.

          1. Sue says:

            And you’d think it had never happened before in human history!!!! Do any of these young students being discussed have parents or any kind of guidance in their lives; the kind which would caution them to be worldly and skeptical of authority figures? My parents were like this when I was a teenager, telling me about what life was really like and how to avoid the dangerous over-familiarity with powerful males.

          2. The View from America says:

            “And you’d think it had never happened before in human history!!!! Do any of these young students being discussed have parents or any kind of guidance in their lives …”

            That’s it: Blame the parents, not the perpetrator. Brilliant!

            #GeniusIsNoLongerAnExcuse

          3. Wolfgang C says:

            RE: Sue Says

            This has nothing to do with parenting and everything to do with people in power abusing their position. Music students are especially vulnerable because they are often in one-on-one situations with their teachers. It shouldn’t be up to the student to fight off lecherous advances. Teachers and conductors need to take their role as mentors and role model seriously. Just because someone is a great musician doesn’t mean they have any business being anywhere near young people. I think all colleges and music festivals need formal policies in place regarding interactions between students and faculty. They also need to be enforced. Students or employees shouldn’t feel as though they will be blacklisted and ignored if they speak up about inappropriate behavior.

        2. William Osborne says:

          The American system has some flexibility since the department Chair or Dean often has some discretion about how the rules will be applied. It’s usually not too difficult to tell the difference between exploitative and meaningful relationships. If a professor is unmarried and has a loving relationship with a student similar in age (like a young prof. and an older grad student) a Dean can choose to overlook the situation. I too have seen good marriages evolve out of relationships like this.

      2. Ellenelll says:

        IT Is so true what an hypocritical environment specifically at the Met Newyork
        It was well known since the 1970 jimmy was running after boys I can speak because my dear french friend (dead) her name was Danielle coaching french at the Met was
        horrified by what she could see n hear
        All directors closed there eyes n hears shame on them !!
        Of course if Jimmy was not so talented he would have been in jail
        I will miss him
        What a waste !!!

    3. Been Here Before says:

      This is beyond belief! I have no words to describe how I am feeling after reading your post. I have nothing more to add and can only remain silent. But I do hope that your post is being read by those who should be reading it. I admire your courage to step forward!

  3. Hilary says:

    Enjoying Levine’s Mahler (sadly, incomplete cycle) from the 1970s. Ought to be more widely appreciated.
    If his Prom’s appearance with the BSO was anything to go by (Carter, Bartok and Brahms) was anything to go by, he was much diminished in the 2000s.

    1. Ungeheuer says:

      And your point is?

    2. Been Here Before says:

      A tasteless and unnecessary comment!

      1. harold braun says:

        Ungeheuer is tasteless,unnecessary,full of his vain self.Ungeheuer just being Ungeheuer,you know….

        1. Ungeheuer says:

          And what in heaven warrants your tirade? What exactly upset you?

  4. Hilary says:

    Present problems aside, enjoying Levine’s Mahler (sadly, incomplete cycle) from the 1970s. Ought to be more widely appreciated.
    If his Prom’s appearance with the BSO was anything to go by (Carter, Bartok and Brahms) was anything to go by, he was much diminished in the 2000s.

    1. lololol says:

      Whatever. I have owned the same cycle for years, enjoyed parts of it, and am selling it off to second-hand CD shop. It has turned into something unlistenable for me.

  5. The View from America says:

    Over on Facebook, regarding the most recent articles with named accusers, Terry Serres says it well:

    “Here’s an article that puts a little bit more focus where it should be: on the victims. Not on the downfall of a great man (banal at this point). Not on the hand-wringing and institutional rot of the Met management and board. Not on the self-indulgent laments of fans torn about how to view his legacy.

    Levine was a Dream Crusher. He told talented and hopeful young men that submitting to his sexual needs was part of their musical development. Ponder a moment how messed up that is. When bassist Chris Brown rebuffed him after a first disturbing encounter at Meadow Brook, Levine instantly cut him off and withdrew mentorship. The specifics are chilling, especially considering the age of the victims, their vulnerability, and the insular educational context. Levine’s talent and sway only deepened the damage. His artistry was an exacerbating factor, not the extenuating circumstance that so many take it for.”

    1. Been Here Before says:

      I have been torn over the last couple of days, not being able to comprehend how can the ability to create enormous beauty, and inflict so much pain simultaneously live within the soul of the same person.

      This is indeed tragic. My heart goes to each and every victim. I can only try to imagine the pain they felt after someone they (most probably) worshipped manipulated their feelings and trust for his own gratification.

      I agree that a great artist does not have to be a perfect human being (which, indeed, nobody can). However, such extremes are simply confounding. I am not a psychologist, psychiatrist or a priest, and I truly wonder what is hiding inside JL’s heart and soul? What kind of inner forces made him inflict so much pain on those who needed his mentorship and guidance the most? Tragic, indeed!

      1. The View from America says:

        +1

      2. Robert Holmén says:

        “…how can the ability to create enormous beauty, and inflict so much pain simultaneously live within the soul of the same person.”

        Here we have our problem… elevating conductors so high that we imagine the conductor is the miraculous creator of it all and that some angelic inner soul is at work.

        1. Been Here Before says:

          Well, the vision and the interpretation have to be coming from somewhere inside him… call it a soul, heart, or brain tissue. He must have some kind of feeling or instinct that the rest of us don’t have. With all due respect, I believe that neither you or I can get up on the podium and do what JL does.

          1. James says:

            Levine is evil.
            Wagner was evil.
            Now I better understand Levine’s penchant for Wagner.

            Why is classical music fixated on torment?

          2. Robert Holmén says:

            “Well, the vision and the interpretation have to be coming from somewhere inside him… call it a soul, heart, or brain tissue…”

            Ding, ding, ding… it’s the brain. Conducting is a skill one learns from other people.

            Many people will try, one will be better than the others… that is not a miracle or divine substance at work, that is the reality of human variability. Also true of painting, pole-vaulting and chicken plucking.

            If James Levine had never existed there would be someone else we would be hailing as the best opera conductor. There isn’t a shortage of talented people angling for it.

          3. Been Here Before says:

            Robert – you are arguing the Infinite monkey theorem, aren’t you? That’s fine and I accept it. I understand that we have opposite worldviews and I respect yours despite being completely unable to accept it. I tried it for a while when I was younger and it made me want to jump through the window. Total randomness drives me nuts!

          4. Adam Stern says:

            >> Conducting is a skill one learns from other people.

            With all due respect: As has been observed many times, the only facet of conducting that can be taught or learned is the physical part (beating time, giving cues, etc.). The other, and much more important, part — knowing how to discern the composer’s intent from the score and imparting this to your players and/or singers — is something that’s either there or not. These innate gifts can indeed deepen over time, but one is born with them. Not even a musician gifted in another area necessarily makes a good conductor (think of some fine instrumentalists who took to the podium after their playing careers afforded them the clout to do so, and didn’t/don’t have what it takes).

            Waving a stick in front of an orchestra does not necessarily mean you are a conductor, any more than someone reading Shakespeare aloud dully and with no inflection makes them an actor.

          5. Robert Holmén says:

            The idea that all conductors ever learn from someone else is stick patterns while the rest is innate gifts is a fanciful one.

            With all due respect, which is why I limited myself to “fanciful”.

        2. Been Here Before says:

          And the impulses from the same soul, heart or brain tissue that are able to create such great music also compelled him to proceed with such heinous acts. As already said, truly confounding!

          1. Adam Stern says:

            Perhaps Antal Doráti puts it better than I can:

            >> I always say that conducting cannot be taught. However, experience can be shared. In the realm of the arts, practically nothing can be taught. If one knows a lot, one can learn more. The essential ability cannot be given. What makes the fine artist is the talent plus experience. And experience has to be gathered personally – you cannot have it from somewhere else. An experienced man could help – not to shorten the road to experience for a younger man, but to show him the path which he can take to make the amount of his errors a little bit less.

          2. The View from America says:

            Antal Dorati has a point, absolutely.

            But I don’t think Dorati was thinking of quite the same kind of “experience” that Levine was sharing with his students …

        3. Thomas Mowrey says:

          It seems to me that NL once wrote a book on the subject of elevating conductors to god-like status. Might be worthwhile for all of us — including him — to read it again. Just pulled my copy down from the bookshelf.

          1. harold braun says:

            it´s a terrible,gossipy,book littered with mistakes,virtually on every page,wrong data,wrong names,sloppily researched.Totally unserious.Don´t waste your time on it.

        4. Sue says:

          Completely agree. The deification of mortals is destined to lead to disappointment, often despair. When I worked at a national public broadcaster in Australia in the 1970s it was known that the organization was run by the ‘homosexual mafia’, which is what it was called. Sexual predators existed in both the hetero and homosexual cohort and you’d see idiots willingly go like lambs to the slaughter because they were either naive, foolish or they just didn’t care. I remember one TV producer actively bragging, “I love liberated women”! A first class misogynist who knew that ‘liberation’ mostly meant dropping your drawers with anyone. Yes, it was manna from heaven for most of them. I can’t help feeling, at my age, that what we have today is the pointy end of ‘sexual liberation’ one way or another.

          1. Herr Doktor says:

            Sue, we get it. You detest homo-SEXUALS. You’re a right wing idealogue.

            But it is tiresome hearing your constant rantings. Do you even have any friends in the real world, meaning, people who genuinely like you rather than simply tolerate you? If you actually do, someone should have told you by now that you come across as unpleasant in the extreme.

      3. John Borstlap says:

        The link is the self-obsession that very gifted artists often have: to preserve their individuality and artistic independence, they put an emotional barrier around their ego, shutting-out considerations ‘from the world’. If such attitude is confirmed by the environment, such people loose contact with reality and think that for them, the normal human constrictions don’t count because these ‘belong to the base world’. The result is that such performers don’t draw the consequences of the art form they think they serve – they perversily use the art form to boost their ego in a self-referential circle.

        Fortunately there are many, really many, performers who are not only decent people but who use their ego as an instrument to serve the art from instead of the other way around.

        1. Been Here Before says:

          An excellent observation and conclusion! Thank you John!

        2. Hilary says:

          Outstanding summary of the situation.

        3. Mikko says:

          Agreed. An extreme case in point would be Michael Jackson, who was at the same time both put on a pedestal and abused as a child, and happened be an actual one-in-a-billion talent.

      4. PaulD says:

        Think about the talented Roman Polanski, and Hollywood’s view of him. His peers were willing to look past his rape of a 13 year-old, and honor him with an Oscar for Best Director. On YouTube, you can watch the audience give him a standing ovation – even Jack Nicholson at whose home the crime took place.

  6. Justaplayer says:

    Meanwhile, CAMI’s page on him has a biography dated from 2015. So much for quality management from that agency’s boss. What a joke.

  7. Stendhal says:

    Mr. Engstroem’s response by simply pasting generic legal pablum indicates a failure on his part and on the part of the Verbier festival to recognize the significance of what has occurred here. This failure is fundamentally moral, but also one of public relations management. In the age of social media, it is very difficult to hide inconvenient truths about institutional cultures and norms.

    The Levine scandal involves and shines light on many aspects of the classical music business at its most lavishly funded levels – and will hopefully lead to generational changes in leadership positions. Transparency and accountability are desperately needed, as are an awareness of the simple fact that the world has changed.

  8. Jan Kaznowski says:

    ===Here we have our problem… elevating conductors so high that we imagine the conductor is the miraculous creator of it all

    Yes. Watching Levine conduct, say, Mahler you’ve got to be on your guard to remember he’s not composing it on the spot. He has a good ear and great sense of rhythm but was never a creative person.

  9. Marg says:

    Maybe Ive missed it but the Met opera stars who have worked with him and praised his conducting seem to have been conspicuously silent – have they nothing to say to the victims at the very least? I haven’t heard a peep from one. At least the politicians who so often seem spineless, have stood up and spoken out about their own when such things have come to light recently. Maybe Ive missed seeing the opera singers comments ….

    1. The View from America says:

      Maybe the better word is “conspiratorially” quiet.

      #TheyAllKnew

      #GeniusIsNoLongerAnExcuse

      1. Adam says:

        Please learn how to use hashtags. This isn’t twitter

        1. The View from America says:

          #YouGetTheIdea

      2. Mark says:

        #HashtagIsTheLastRefugeofWorthlessMediocrity

        1. The View from America says:

          #I’mSureThatMakesYouFeelBetter

        2. Robert Holmén says:

          #ThisIsReallyASharpSign

  10. Penelope says:

    Does anybody here want to comment on violinist Joshua Bell’s antics at Verbier year after year? Can anyone here say that Martin Engstroem is not aware of this?

  11. Micha says:

    I was part of a business group which was involved in a Verbier Orch world tour which Levine was not part of but I personally witnessed some pretty bad behavior on the part of administration. Nothing sexually wrong but I’ve never seen people spend a bank’s money faster and more recklessly than they did. It was pretty disgusting.

  12. Gabriel Parra Blessing says:

    I find it interesting that there are some who seem to be genuinely puzzled that great art can spring from those who are morally compromised, and can be greatly appreciated and apprehended by same. It’s puzzling, because I assume all of us here posting love classical music, and we have the glaring example of Nazi Germany as a reference. There were Nazi musicians (some of whom were Nazis twice over) who were great artists, and within the ranks of the party were Nazis who genuinely loved and appreciated the music of the likes of Bach, Beethoven, Bruckner et al. To put it bluntly and plainly: art has no moral value whatsoever. It neither guarantees that its creators will be moral men and women, nor that those who appreciate it will be morally upstanding themselves. In the end, music, especially, is an aesthetic exploit and experience whose practitioners are very often people who are and have been morally and ethically compromised. Such is life.

    1. John Borstlap says:

      No, it’s different. Music – that is, the better bulk of it – has an ethical component, it relates to the better elements in the human psyche, and that is the reason why people want to hear musical works again and again, like the hunger for the stimulating presence of a good friend. This element appeals to the normal human instinct to make him/herself a better person and the world a better place, and this is also the impulse which has created civilization over the ages, in spite of all the civilizational diasters which have been overcome again and again. People ‘enjoying’ classical music in the evening after a hard days work killing innocent prisoners in concentration camps, simply don’t understand the nature of the music. It is a form of known psychopathy to have sentiments in entirely different ‘boxes’ without any contact between them. It is not so difficult to sense a mental abberation in the difference between Hitler’s feelings towards dogs and Wagner operas on one hand and his feelings towards Jews on the other.

    1. Nick says:

      What a superbly apt, superbly written and superbly argued article! It sums up what many of the threads about Levine should have been concentrating on. Do please read it!

      1. maureen says:

        yes thank you. The Eda Moser quote is just chilling. EVERYONE knew.

    2. Marg says:

      thank you for posting this. Very well written article.

    3. William Osborne says:

      An article about Levine focusing on the delusions created by the cult of celebrity. I was forced to observe this for years through the work of Sergiu Celibidache in the Munich. My wife and many others suffered extreme abuse at his hands, but it was tolerated due to the cult of genius. Art is harmed, of course, when it is placed above the law and human decency, and when people turn away and pretends they don’t see anything.

      This idea of tolerating immorality, or even evil, in the name of artistic genius, is a cultural tradition in the Western world. One of the more overlooked aspects of recent history is that Hitler consciously presented himself as an artist-prophet, and used this to manipulate Germans into tolerating his abuses. It was part of a larger ethos of the era, since groups such as the Futurists, and those surrounding thinkers like Gabriele D’Annunzio, stressed the cult of artistic genius and associated it with concepts like the super human and the Übermensch. The Levine case isn’t so extreme, but it’s part of this tradition.

      The observations of Eda Moser about Levine’s associations with pre-adolescents reminds us that the worst parts of the scandal may not have yet surfaced, and might never.

      1. John Borstlap says:

        This comment about the celebrity cult around artistic genius is entirely correct. The cult stems from the 19th century when artists were liberated from servitude from court, church and nobility and had to find their way in a bourgeois society with an ‘open market’ for the arts, a fragile position which artists felt had to somehow be bolstered.

    4. William Osborne says:

      The author of the article notes this statement from Alex Ross and says he apologized for it: “[The rumors] belong in the category of personalized urban legends that attach themselves to certain celebrities for no discernible reason…his most effective response has been his performances, which make all the gossip sound bitter and small.”

      Can someone point us to Ross’s apology? I would like to read it.

      1. William Osborne says:

        Here is Alex Ross’s apology, which was a Twitter post on December 4th: “At the time, I thought that Levine was being victimized by false rumors. I was disastrously wrong, and am ashamed to have written this. My feelings don’t matter, though. What counts is what the real victims have endured.”

        I hope he’ll back this up with more than just a Twitter post.

      2. Olassus says:

        While I do consider Alex Ross “overrated,” to borrow a word, he owes no apology here, just a correction or update.

    5. Ungeheuer says:

      Thank you for linking the article. Reminds me how much I love LvB’s Missa Solemnis. Here is Levine, in the Kyrie, from his Salzburg recording with the 24K cast of Jessye Norman, Cheryl Studer, Kurt Moll and Plácido Domingo. No need to say how beautiful and profound their music making is and yet, how conflicting and disturbing to hear in light of the lamentably preventable disaster unfolding.

      https://youtu.be/PnciW5NJn1k

      1. Olassus says:

        molasses

        1. Ungeheuer says:

          If by molasses you meant slow and-or thick, perhaps, and a valid point. The performance is decidedly, inarguably un-HIP.

      2. G. P. Blessing says:

        One of the very finest performances of the work. Should one now feel queasy listening to it? No more so, I should say, than when listening to any of those conducted by Herr Karajan, or Herr Bohm, or Herr Krauss, among others.

    6. Eaglearts says:

      I’m sorry, but you are collapsing to many facts with rumors. The awful abuse Levine inflicted upon those who have come forward started after the age of 16-17. One man joined up with Levine’s band of sycophants when he was 20. To describe them as “children” is a bit extreme. Adding the Edda Moser quote is irresponsible. Has anyone backed up her very explicit claim? Did management hear him buggering them in his dressing room and do nothing?

      Let me also add that for much of Levine’s early career, and persisting in some quarters until today, homosexuality and pedophilia are/were synonymous. We know this is a hateful lie. Based on the allegations out there already, assuming they are all true, Levine’s actions were abusive, coercive and reprehensible in every way. They are not, however, pedophilia. It’s sloppy journalism that’s collapsing all of these things. We need to call out his actions for what they are and not continue to base present actions on old rumors until such time as warranted.

  13. Anon says:

    A stricter differentiation between moral opinions and legal facts is urgently needed in this swelling chatter of the crowds.
    it seems a lot of people in these back-to-the-middle-ages mental times think being morally outraged about someone equals that person having committed a crime. No ladies and gentlemen. We had in the last 500 years something called the age of enlightenment, and with it came something that is called the rule of law. And that means, the law defines, what is a crime or misdemeanor and what not. Not the angry mob.
    Now in the dark age of social media, apparently the rule of the mob wants to abolish the rule of law, and some entities in the background with shady agendas only welcome that development, because owning the opinion of the crowd is possible for them, thus all the power to them…

    1. Robert Holmén says:

      In the US, the “rule of law” is not intended to limit public discussion, but to guide the legal process away from official interference in the results.

      The rule of law is not necessarily an impartial judge; in less public cases than these it tended to favor the side with the better lawyer.

      The “rule of law” is what kept this all under wraps for so long.

      Fear of publicity in court prevented the victims from speaking out and fear of libel lawsuits prevented the press from speaking out.

      Bill O’Riley and Harvey Weinstein used the legal process for years to hide their crimes and silence their accusers.

      We need the rule of law but don’t pretend it solves all the problems.

      1. G. P. Blessing says:

        I happen to see both your point and that of Anon above. This is a terribly complex issue with no easy answers. It does concern me, though, that the court of public opinion now seems sufficient to deprive people of employment based on nothing more than hearsay and unsubstantiated accusations. The rule of law may not be perfect for the reasons you state, but its absence I would argue is quite a bit more imperfect.

        1. harold braun says:

          Absolutely!

        2. Robert Holmén says:

          I would note that “The court of public” opinion is how these people got their jobs.

          James Levine, Bill O’Riley, Harvey Weinstein, and ALL politicians… these are not Joes in a factory making some record number widgets per hour for the war effort, they are people riding nebulous waves of public approval to get to the heights they did.

          They didn’t fret about “the court of public opinion” when it was the reason for their success.

          The court of public opinion is WHY these people got their jobs. It is why they lose it.

          1. Ungeheuer says:

            Golden words.

      2. Ungeheuer says:

        Exactly

  14. James says:

    Everyone knew…?
    Cult, fetish, miracle, worshipful adoration, complacent blindness, myth-making, advertising publicity….what might lurk behind the powerful commercial and promotional forces of, say, The Mahler Industry, that Holy of Holies for those in search of ha ha Soul States? What was the man Mahler in fact really like? It wants thinking of as the walls come tumbling down, eh?

    1. harold braun says:

      ?????What are you talking about?????

    2. Gene Gaudette says:

      Sounds as if you dropped some pretty bad LSD. Seek medical assistance.

    3. Hilary says:

      You lost me at the point where you reference Mahler.

  15. G. P. Blessing says:

    This didn’t post the first time so trying again.

    I find it interesting that there are some who seem to be genuinely puzzled that great art can spring from those who are morally compromised, and can be greatly appreciated and apprehended by same. It’s puzzling, because I assume all of us here posting love classical music, and we have the glaring example of Nazi Germany as a reference. There were Nazi musicians (some of whom were Nazis twice over) who were great artists, and within the ranks of the party were Nazis who genuinely loved and appreciated the music of the likes of Bach, Beethoven, Bruckner et al. To put it bluntly and plainly: art has no moral value whatsoever. It neither guarantees that its creators will be moral men and women, nor that those who appreciate it will be morally upstanding themselves. In the end, music, especially, is an aesthetic exploit and experience whose practitioners are very often people who are and have been morally and ethically compromised. Such is life.

    1. George Porter says:

      +11

    2. harold braun says:

      Exactly.

    3. Ungeheuer says:

      Valid point. But ultimately it’s a decision for each individual to make. In the meantime, the morally and ethically compromised, often public figures relying on the generosity of the public in various forms, need to be brought to account. Otherwise, we all descend into a no-man’s-land, no-holds-barred banana republic. In fact, we are almost there under the current American administration and its chaos and disregard for ethics and morals. It must be what living in the Congo feels like. Not quite but a few notches close.

      1. Been Here Before says:

        I referred to the original post as the tasteless comment, certainly not yours (see above).

        1. Ungeheuer says:

          Thank you and I understood that as I read the thread. It was the reply to my own comment from someone else that was off base. Crazy.

    4. Been Here Before says:

      I understand what you are saying and I am not trying to argue your point. In my perspective, I always saw truth, beauty and goodness as somehow intertwined. For me, art does have moral value – this is why I still find it difficult to appreciate a lot of modern art (not only for the lack of goodness, but also of beauty). You may not agree, but this is my view, so please respect it as I do yours.

      Now, I know that most artists over the course of history were flawed one way or another, as all of us are. What truly shocks me is the coexistence of inner forces within the same person that influence him or her produce great artistic achievements as well as hideous and evil acts. This applies to Levine, Polanski, Nazi musicians, etc. I have to say, though, that John Borstlap in one of the previous posts provided perhaps the best explanation to help me reconcile this paradox.

      1. Jenny B says:

        Let he who is without sin cast the first stone! Mr Levine used his position to manipulate people he fancied. Those people allowed themselves to be manipulated because of the benefits it brought them. This scenario is repeated endlessly by human beings and it always has been. Everyone knows what the game is, it is part of human behaviour.

        All this squawking now is caused by the snowflake generation looking to fill their existential angst because they have nothing better to do, no real causes to fight for.

        Being a wonderful musician is neither here nor there – its just the way the brain is wired up.

        1. Hilary says:

          Well said Jenny. Bravo.

        2. Robert Holmén says:

          “Those people allowed themselves to be manipulated because of the benefits it brought them”

          They “allowed” it because this VIP faculty member that everyone insisted was a genius lied to them and told them this was part of their musical education and that they had to do it. If they didn’t, they got cut off.

          It’s too easy to fool an 18-year-old, especially when the people he’s been told are on his side are lying to him.

          But you claim that’s a contract between equal negotiators.

          1. Gerald Martin says:

            A crucial point: the relative power/authority of the parties involved.

        3. Been Here Before says:

          Sexual abuse is never OK, without matter of how you try to rationalize it. Period.

    1. Ungeheuer says:

      Liar Liar Pants On Fire

      #IBelieveTheMen
      #IBelieveTheAccusers

      1. harold braun says:

        You of course know the truth,smart alec bigmouth…

    1. harold braun says:

      Okay.

    2. Robert Holmén says:

      But it would be now…

      “It is important to note that since the time these acts are alleged to have occurred, Illinois law has raised the age of consent to 17,” the office said in a statement. “Also, there is now a provision in Illinois law raising the age of consent to 18 in cases where the suspect is in a position of trust, authority, or supervision in relation to the victim. No similar legal protection existed during the time frame in which these acts are alleged to have occurred.”

      1. Mark says:

        The US Constitution expressly prohibits retroactive applications of statues in criminal matters (“no ex post facto laws”). Furthermore, the Lake Forest PD started that the facts alleged by Mr. Pai (such is the very existence of a sexual relationship) are generally unverifiable.

        The other alleged incidents took place in the 60s, when Levine himself was in his 20s, and all the parties were consenting adults. While relationships with students are objectionable by our modern standards (and are expressly prohibited by most educational establishments), it wasn’t the case then.

        For me, the matter is closed.

        1. Ungeheuer says:

          No, Mark, it isn’t closed. What is happening here is the Levine cabal has its wagons circling their man one more time, to protect him. It hasn’t happened with others recently; it shouldn’t be allowed with Levine. No special concessions for him. The accusers? Sweep them under the rug. Matter is forgiven and forgotten. Levine, in his public statement, wants to continue conducting. Is this not dlusional or what? One thing is certain: The public will see that he never again sets foot at the Met. And I hope elsewhere too. The public everywhere must remain vigilant.

          As for Gelb and his board, who sat on a police report for over a year while continuing to engage Levine therefore directly complicit in the long-standing cover up of all things Levine, what next?

          (Repeating the statement above for the gazillion time here so people do not lose track or forget.)

          #IBelieveTheMen
          #IBelieveTheAccusers

          1. herrera says:

            No crime was committed. Period.

            1) “cabal has its wagons circling … to protect him” : Protect him from not having committed a crime?
            2) “No special concessions for him.”: Special concessions for not having committed a crime?
            3) “The accusers?”: Accusers of no crime?
            4) “wants to continue conducting. Is this not delusional or what?” : For not having a committed a crime?
            5) “The public everywhere must remain vigilant.”: Vigilant against crimes not happening?
            6) “Gelb and his board, who sat on a police report”: Sat on a police report of no crime?

            Finally, and this is what you don’t seem to understand at all:

            “#IBelieveTheMen” and “#IBelieveTheAccusers”

            The police are saying, even assuming we believe the men, even assuming we believe the accusers, even assuming every single detail alleged were true: It was NOT a crime!

            What the police are saying is this: What he did, even if absolutely true, even if videotaped, even if Levine admitted every last detail, even if the whole thing was witnessed by 100 people: It was NOT a crime.

        2. Robert Holmén says:

          You’re right, abusing high authority and compelling students to engage in humiliating relationships under the premise of “music” may not be legally actionable, then or now.

          So… nothing to see… continue to engage this person today as if everything was fine because… matter closed, no charges could be filed.

          I’ll note the alleged incidents continued into the 70s and 80s (and 90s?) way past the point where he was just another one of the boys. And he never was just one of the boys when he also had power of success or failure to wield over them.

          1. Ungeheuer says:

            Herrera, you don’t get it. No one is seeking criminal charges since the statute of limitations has taken care of that. What is being sought, rather, is justice and truth, which apparently you can’t handle.

          2. Mark says:

            Ungeheuer- No, it’s not just the statute of limitations – Levine committed no criminal acts of any sort. Your personal ideas of justice are irrelevant to anyone but yourself. Go and stew in your “righteous indignation” if you wish. In the absence of criminality, I care about music, not Levine’s extracurriculars.


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