New York piano teacher is suspended after fondling charges

New York piano teacher is suspended after fondling charges


norman lebrecht

April 17, 2015

New School’s Mannes College of Music Prep has suspended David Oei, 64, after he was charged with forcible touching and endangering the welfare of a child. Oei is accused of groping a 15 year-old female student during a private lesson at his West 57th apartment.

He denies the charge, which has shocked a wide circle of musicians in and around the city.  Oei, who has taught at the New School for 15 years, is also involved with Bennington. Friends believe him incapable of the alleged offence.

His wife, the violinist Eriko Sato, hugged her husband as he was allowed to leave court on his own cognisance. He will appear there again on May 11.


We may be reaching the point where unchaperoned lessons in a teacher’s apartment are simply inadvisable.


  • Roy Lisker says:

    Guilt by accusation has become too common in these cases. Of course there do exist serious offenses, but the way things are developing it’s become impossible to hold the hand of a student just to show her (rarely him) how to place their fingers on the instrument, (an actual case at Julliard) for them to be accused of inappropriate touching. Of course maybe it’s just a symptom of the over-all death of music education, perhaps of serious music. And think of all the really serious abuses that are not reported because the student is intimidated or the school has become cynical through the abundance of false alarms!

    • Daniel Farber says:

      Agree entirely with your sentiments from top to bottom. For the record, Juilliard is spelled THAT way–with an “i” coming after the “u”.

    • Robert Holmén says:

      A simple solution these days is to video all the lessons. A lot of homes have 24/7 security camera coverage going to a DVR. Just add a camera in the piano studio and then it will be clear that just touching the hands to show them how to play the piano is just that.

      It’s not expensive to do anymore.