Orchestra parents warned their sons about James Levine

Orchestra parents warned their sons about James Levine


norman lebrecht

December 10, 2017

VAN magazine has a thoughtful piece from a writer, Ben Miller, whose father was a cellist in the Boston Symphony Orchestra when James Levine was music director.

The artcle is titled ‘On Knowing and not Knowing about James Levine’.


When I was 12 years old and James Levine began his tenure as Music Director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, my parents sat me down and told me that there were serious rumors swirling around him. They told me they had heard he had been inappropriate with young boys. At that time, I was often backstage at the BSO and Tanglewood, hanging out with friends who were also the children of BSO players, listening to rehearsals. They told me never to be alone in a room with James Levine. They told me to walk the other way if I saw him coming.

Over the next four years, at BSO concerts I attended (seated in empty second-balcony seats or on the sides of the Tanglewood Shed by friendly ushers), James Levine gave me an introduction to and education in the orchestral repertoire. My thinking about orchestral music—the way that it sounds right, when I hear it in my head—was profoundly shaped by his programming and his interpretive stance. There is a wide swath of music that I cannot think about without thinking about James Levine….


Read on here.


Backtrack: How the Levine story unfolded.


  • Ruben Greenberg says:

    What a fine, thought-provoking piece of writing-in its own right.

  • Theodore McGuiver says:

    Well-written piece, even if it did contain this extraordinary statement:

    I accepted this, knowing how quickly still-alive and still-dangerous right-wing lies can turn into attacks on sexual freedom and privacy.

    We must never forget that anything which might offend our sensibilities is, by nature, ‘right-wing’ and therefore a danger to society.

    • Cubs Fan says:

      Yes, obviously all offensive and dangerous ideas come from the right. The left would never do anything to offend or cause harm…

      • John Borstlap says:

        Interesting thought indeed, thinking of the milliions of innocent people killed by extreme-left regimes in the last centuries: Stalin’s Soviet regime, Mao’s devastating killings (excused by Western lefties as ‘collateral damage’ on the way to the perfect society), the current N-Korean regime kept upright by killing and nucelar threats, etc. etc. What began as a idealistic, humanist project to stop inhuman exploitation ended in nightmares.

        • Yes Addison says:

          He was dealing with a specific subject, that is, whether “the rumors” about James Levine might have been nothing more than prejudice against a gay man whose relationships were all with consenting adults. He could have been even-handed and written “I accepted this, knowing how quickly still-alive and still-dangerous lies about homosexuals, from both the left and the right, can turn into attacks on sexual freedom and privacy,” and we could have had a good guffaw over that. Are there, in the United States, any left-wing evangelicals or left-wing radio talk show hosts spewing bigotry and fearmongering about gay people? Is anti-gay rhetoric (coded or otherwise) a winning ticket among liberals in the country where James Levine lives and works?

          • Charles Fischbein says:

            All those liberal snowflakes who fall back on a legal standard seem to forget common morality.
            Many of these perverted crimes took place decades ago and in virtually all cases the statute if limitations has run out.
            If a man commits murder and gets away with it, is he not still a murderer.
            How would you feel if these perverted acts were done to your child only to learn that legal technicalities prevented a trail.
            I grew up in the upper west side if Manhattan’s forty years ago.
            Thank God I moved to a farm in the Shenandoah Valley decades,ago.
            Whenever I travel to the Met I stay at a hotel in 80th and Riverside Drive and I am shocked at the bias and ultra liberal insanity that has consumed a once balanced and thoughtful neighborhood.
            There is a great deal of America outside of New York where those of us who uphold basic Judeo Christian moral values know when a crime has been committed and the difference between right and wrong.
            This is not a new story credible stories of Levine’s perverse behavior have circulated and have been covered by his minders for decades.
            Thankfully this has finally seen the light of day.

        • Petros Linardos says:

          “Left” in the USA has little in common with “left” in Europe, not to speak of leftist totalitarian governments in Venezuela or North Korea.

        • Ruben Greenberg says:

          It’s true the Castro regime didn’t/hasn’t treated homosexuals all that well.

        • Sue says:

          I think he was being sarcastic!! He’d have to be!!! As Jordan Peterson says, “the body count of corpses as a consequence of Marxism would reach halfway to the moon”!!

        • Robert Holmén says:

          When you have to go half way around the world to dig up a “left wing” example, maybe it’s not primarily a problem of the left.

      • Minutewaltz says:

        + 1

    • Steve P says:

      Queers definitely had it rough when society condemned their sexual proclivities. I wouldn’t be surprised if this Levine fiasco takes a turn soon: Levine claiming he is persecuted for his homosexuality.

    • Kattheen Quinn says:

      To Theodore McGuiver. Good point and it is worth noting that in recent months the conservative press has been a much more reliable defender of due process than others on the political spectrum. I am sad to post that, but it has been very noteworthy.

  • Olassus says:

    What is “to be inappropriate”?

    Does he mean improper?

    Can a person “be” improper?

  • herrera says:

    The article is a lot less helpful than it appears: it still just recirculates more rumors without any independent assessment or verification.

    For instance, quoting the soprano about a group of boys age 7 to 12 always in the wings at rehearsals. This is an extraordinary claim, yet no one can corroborate this claim? No one else saw this group of boys? None of the boys have spoken up? It’s hard to imagine that a middle age man could be perpetually trailed by a group of boys would go unnoticed. No one took a picture of this strange sight?

    Or even about his father’s warning: now that he’s an adult, did he interview his father for the source of the info? about who else knew at BSO?

    His personal experience offers nothing to confirm or deny the rumors.

    Basically, this whole piece is: what my father told me and what I read elsewhere. And by the way, this is my musical experience with Levine.

    • Ungeheuer says:

      This Herrera person-fanboy or girl, an apologist for Levine, refuses to get it. Doubles, triples down on not getting it. Bends over backward and twists herself, her logic and her narrative in a pretzel to defend her apparent idol.

      • Mark says:

        Hey, Untermensch, go play with your fellow pimpled SJWs – huh a tree, sign a petition, save the whales and resettle them in the rainforest. Oh, and don’t forget to feed the shark you’ve jumped …

      • herrera says:

        Poor Ungeheuer, he’s as obsessed with me as he is with James Levine.

        • Ungeheuer says:

          Of course, you smugly self-exempt since you are not obsessed with Levine, going by the trail of lame excuses and defenses from you. You should look in the mirror a little more often and ask questions to the reflection, should you see anything.

          • Mark says:

            Untermensch, calm down – have a drink, or two, or three … Or better yet, go out and get laid. Your hysterics are tiresome.

        • Charles Fischbein says:

          Herrera please stop you sound like the poster boy for perversion.

  • herrera says:

    The great mystery is why the storied BSO, who could’ve gotten anyone as MD, pursued Levine so assiduously, especially given what the rumors were, finally settling on Levine even though they knew he’d split his time between Boston and NY, and that the Met would always have priority over the BSO.

    In a sense, the BSO was as mesmerized by Levine as the young men who coalesced around him.

    • Petros Linardos says:

      I agree. One cannot judge the BSO’s decision making progress without behind the scenes knowledge.
      Nevertheless, it’s hard to think that the BSO couldn’t find another first class pick. They have so much going for them: high technical and musical standards, stellar reputation, a first class roster of guest conductors, flush with cash, not to mention a city with a major international airport. I can’t think of any US orchestra that could be in a better position to have it’s pick.

  • Kathleen Quinn says:

    At the risk of being attacked myself I will point out that the author of the article moved from one emotion-driven false conclusion to another emotion-driven false conclusion , apparently without fully examining his own thought processes, despite the pretense of doing so.

    The author does not know whether James Levine has ever been an abuser. Years ago, moved by emotions, he decided to believe something about levine he had no way of knowing was true. Last week, moved by emotions, he decided to believe the opposite, again having no way of knowing what is true.

    Not only is the presumption of innocence a vital component of a civilized society, it will actually protect you against emotional confusion if you respect it and see it’s worth.

    99,99999999999% of humanity actually doesn’t know if levine is telling the truth in denying these accusations. Maybe we will know someday soon. It is important to keep children away from levine until we do know, but it is also greatly important to strictly observe the discipline of the presumption of innocence.

    • Robert Holmén says:

      Deciding to “keep children away from Levine” is hardly presuming innocence; that is what you do with someone you presume guilty.

      I will also pedantically note that your estimation of “99,99999999999% of humanity actually doesn’t know if Levine is telling the truth” is so large that it leaves not even one person as a possibility.

      The 0.075% of one human remaining would be about one arm’s worth, but I suppose it is possible that the right hand didn’t know what the left hand was up to.

      • Steve P says:

        I’m not sure I trust the storyteller in this instance.

      • Kathleen Quinn says:

        See my reply to Bruce below.

        Regarding too many 9’s, you are likely to be right, since I Judas this was being hyperbolic to underscore that people reading media reports or who have been privy to gossip about Levine aren.t in a position to judge the facts of what happened.

        • Kattheen Quinn says:

          Sorry for the autocorrect garble from my ipad. Hope the meaning is clear since there doesn’t seem to be an edit option

    • Bruce says:

      “It is important to keep children away from Levine until we do know —

      That hissing is the sound of you letting the air out of your own argument. With that statement, you advocate holding a belief about something unproven, and acting upon it while it’s still unproven — while criticizing others for holding, & acting upon, beliefs about something that is unproven.

      • parent says:

        The 1980s was the era of “stranger danger” in America; children were routinely warned not to trust ANY strangers — let alone individuals about whom there were rumors of inappropriate behavior towards kids.
        It’s the parents’ prerogative to take those rumors into account. Because if their child got molested after they left him alone with a rumored pedophile, the commenters on this blog would be the first to chant “How could you be so stupid?”

      • Kathleen Quinn says:

        No, that.s not true, any more than denial of bail does away with the presumption of innocence .

    • Duane says:

      In the first place, Maestro Levine is in a wheelchair, seriously ill with a neuro-Degenerative Disease. I doubt that he would or could be interested in anything to do with the sexual accusations he is being accused of. Secondly, this witch hunt has gone too far. The Illinois police charge has been dropped due to lack of concrete evidence. Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty. Maestro has been dragged through the mud by the media and the words of his accusers has been taken as gospel truth!

      • Robert Holmén says:

        “Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty.”

        It is where it has always been. It means only that the government can’t impose penalties without proving a case. James Levine will get that. It’s very unlikely legal penalties will come out of this.

        But his career was made on public opinion of him. He rode that for every mile it was worth. Now his career is being undone on public opinion.

        That is The Arts. It’s opinion.

        • Kattheen Quinn says:

          It really is not fair to reduce Levine ‘s accomplishments to mere celebrity or a popularity contest. He has remarkable, undeniable talent in a profession where it wo7ld be impossible not to achieve worldwide fame if one fulfilled the requirements the music required as brilliantly as Levine has.

          Nothing about his justly deserved fame should be used to deny him due process

        • Mark says:

          The opinion is not on “him” but on his musicianship and accomplishments, and it is not going to change because of some 50-year-old rumors and accusations unsupported by any evidence.
          And the presumption of innocence isn’t just a legal concept, it’s a foundational principle of American life. What we are witnessing here is the new McCarthism – this time perpetrated by the self-declared liberals.

      • Cyril Blair says:

        What does Mr. Levine being in a wheelchair NOW have to do with the accusations of past years? For many years he was perfectly healthy.

    • Robert Holmén says:

      “Years ago, moved by emotions, he decided to believe something about levine he had no way of knowing was true. Last week, moved by emotions, he decided to believe the opposite, again having no way of knowing what is true.”

      No, there’s a big difference now… now there are witnesses willing to testify.

      It wasn’t his emotions that moved him to a new position.

  • Eaglearts says:

    The tarted up headlines for these posts are really ridiculous.

    I’m sorry, but the writer collapses too many allegations (for now let’s just say we believe the accusers) with rumors. The awful abuse Levine allegedly 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. Then they left when it stopped working for them. 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? That seems to be implied. Singers and others who witnessed such a scene (if it actually occurred) and did nothing also deserve to be shunned.

    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 responses on old rumors until such time as warranted. I fully support those who have come forward and hope that others do the same.

  • Ungeheuer says:

    “Roadkill on Capitol Hill” by Maureen Dowd


    Doing the necessary substitutions (Weinstein for Levine, women for men, Washington DC for, say, the Metropolitan Opera, and so on and so forth), in it is described Levine and the culture in the classical music sphere that has cuddled and protected him for too long and that seeks to invalidate and brush aside the accusers. Also described is the culture that makes Herrera, Eaglearts, et.al. defend the indefensible.

    • Ungeheuer says:

      Senior moment. Should have written … (Levine for Weinstein, men for women, the Metropolitan Opera, say, for Washington DC, and so on and so forth) ….

  • Pianofortissimno says:

    Nobody blaming the “perverse” 1970’s yet for the absence of any reaction to Mr Levine’s (and others) predatory record?

    • Kattheen Quinn says:

      Pianofortissimo, the conservative press blames the Sixties!

      • Pianofortissimo says:

        Well informed conservatives know that the pioneers of depravation of the 60’s were just a prelude to the general perversity of the 70’s. Check some writings by Tom Wolfe, if you did not have any personal memory yourself.

  • Bruce says:

    Also from the article:

    The BSO’s current Music Director, Andris Nelsons, has said publicly that sexual harassment doesn’t occur in classical music because “art makes people better humans.”

    I had to Google that because I couldn’t believe an adult with experience of the classical music world would say something like that. Yep, he said it. Wow.

    • Been Here Before says:

      Several posters discussed this quote a couple of days ago. One suggested that Nelsons, although a brilliant musician, is very naive, almost childish, and totally out of touch with the real world. I would tend to agree with this conclusion.

  • Plush says:

    There’s nothing like an angry queer attacking another queer.

    • Charles Fischbein says:

      Plush, you are 100% Correct.
      However the visual is disgusting.

      • Hilary says:

        Not 100% correct for the simple reason that Levine hasn’t even come out as being Gay. Of course, it’s highly likely but It remains in the land of conjecture.

      • Herr Doktor says:

        What’s really fantastic, Mr. Fischbein, is that in 2017, homophobes like you are very comfortable parading your homophobia. I think it’s great that you don’t even try to hide it. Now if only you had the courage to do that in the real world, rather than in an “anonymous” online setting, then I’d really be impressed. And would love to be in the real-world room when you dare to show your bigotry.

        • Charles Fischbein says:

          Herr Doktor, I use my real name. Who are you really?
          There us,a great difference between the acts of consulting adults and grooming minors for sex.
          You sound like the poster boy for perversion.
          Are you concerned using your real name would bring in a cadre of your victims?
          I would say man up but that thought is disgusting

      • Herr Doktor says:

        By the way, one other thing, Mr. Fischbein, is that aside from the well-known truism that most homophobes are actually closet cases, that’s also been my personal experience.

        Let me tell you a true story from two decades ago when I was on a consulting assignment in North Carolina. We had dinner one night, a group of 6 of us that included the CEO of the client company. During the dinner, the CEO went off kind of unprovoked on a rant against gay people (which had this gay consultant stunned and awed), which concluded with the statement, “I just wish those perverts would stop pushing their disgusting behavior on the rest of the world and go back under the rock that they crawled out from.”

        I found out about five years later that Mr. CEO had suddenly died. While this was not well known, as it turned out, he had been arrested for enlisting the help of a prostitute he had hired to secure the services of a 14 year old boy. She reported him to the police (imagine the courage of this amazing woman!), and after an investigation, he was arrested. They found kiddie porn in his possession. He unexpectedly resigned from his job, officially to “spend more time with his family.” Shortly before his trial was to begin, Mr. CEO, who was an elite diver, died “accidentally” in a diving accident. Apparently he embarked on a multi-hour dive with enough oxygen to last 30 minutes.

        Mr. CEO was a well-respected, upstanding pillar of his community, and an evangelical Christian (we had a group prayer before dinner). He left his widow and four children.

        • Blair Tindall says:

          I’m a PADI-certified divemaster, and there’s no such thing as a multi-hour dive. A tank of air (not “oxygen” but 80%nitrogen/20%oxygen like we breathe up here) lasts 30-50 minutes. I’m also a North Carolinian and wondering who this CEO was.

          • Herr Doktor says:

            Hi Blair,

            You may be correct about the timings, and I may have incorrectly stated them. I don’t explicitly know that the dive was a 2-hour dive and the amount of oxygen he had was 30 minutes. What I do know for certain is that he went on a dive that was supposed to be X amount of time, and had only a small fraction of the amount of oxygen that would have been necessary, let alone something extra for margin of safety. I thought I recalled that the person who told me those details had given me that specific information, but this was a long time ago and I may have gotten those details wrong.

            This was not a publicly-held company, and I was amazed at how the story was hushed up when years later I found out the truth of what happened and tried to find out more information online–there was none, just an obituary for the CEO who had died in a tragic “accident.” This puzzled me, because I would think that anyone arrested for child pornography, let alone the CEO of a relatively small (less than $20 million in annual revenues) but not invisible company would make it into the news. I got the full story very unexpectedly years later from his former business partner, who I crossed paths with. The former partner had had a tense relationship with the CEO (which I had been aware of) that led to a complete falling out prior to all this happening but post- our involvement (which I had not been aware of), and he was still angry.

            But the rest of the story, I lived myself. It was the only time that I was at a business meeting (which is in effect what the dinner was) which began with a prayer that we were coerced into participating in. While I was raised in a religious household with a born-again Christian father, I’m not religious myself but I wasn’t offended by what the CEO did, just thought it was odd. But the CEO’s random homophobic eruption caught me by surprise, and was deeply unsettling because at that time I was not out professionally (although completely in my personal life) and had been seriously thinking about it. That experience firmly pushed me firmly back into the closet professionally for another 5 years or so. So yes, it’s quite real. And by the way, this happened in the mid 1990s.

        • Ruben Greenberg says:

          Now that we have established that art doesn’t necessarily make people ethically better, it would seem religion doesn’t turn the trick either. Should we try LSD?

          • Antonia says:

            Religion caused me to wrestle with God over accompanying for two choral conductors this season, each of whom had harmed me professionally in the past for reasons of their own, unrelated to my competency and professionalism. I knew God wanted me to extend forgiveness and swallow my pride in self-denial to demonstrate to them the grace of Christ. (They knew I was a Christian.) But I didn’t want to do it. Revenge is a natural desire.

            My husband has a good job as a scientist in industry as the director his North American division of a global conpany earning over $250,000/year. I didn’t have to accept their requests. They tried to find other suitable pianists and came up empty. I bailed them out, and it was literally only because this is what Christ wanted me to do in this season of peace, goodwill to men. I want to allow Him to teach me about forgiveness and extending grace and mercy, returning blessing for evil. This is part of my spiritual journey with Him into deeper holiness and purity of spirit.

            Just because lots of religious people don’t allow Christ to touch their hearts with His transforming power doesn’t mean that no one does. We just don’t blare our good deeds from the rooftops since Jesus also taught us that we should be humble and, to use an aptly musical expression, not toot our own horn!

            (P.S. This screenname is not my legal name but my pre-adoption name so I’m still not seeking to grab credit…May Jesus receive credit for He is worthy! He DOES change is! If we really mean business with Him and give Him all of who we are, He assists us to become more Christlike! I am still in process, though, with much more left to go! Please don’t give up on Christ. He is making positive changes in His children who truly seek His help.)

          • been here before says:

            Antonia – I am a Christian, too. But with all the mess going on in the world, do you think that Jesus really cares whether you are going to accompany someone on the piano or not? Statements such as this make the believers, including myself a target of ridicule. Please stop and keep your faith as a personal matter.

          • Antonia says:

            Dear “Been Here Before”,
            Yes, I believe that now more than ever, people need to hear that Christ makes a positive difference and has the power to transform individuals filling their lives with more mercy, forgiveness, and grace towards others because of how disgracefully believers are behaving on the world stage.

            Yes, this is actually very, very important. Unless you’re happy seeing the whole world walk away from Christ because of the hypocrisy out there. Are you happy with this? What are you doing to show people that God can change a life for the better and to make you a more loving person? Do you think that Christ came so that we can hide His light and love under a bushel? Christ tells us, Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father, Who is in Heaven.” It took a great deal of submission to God’s love on my part to make me willing to collaborate with these two conductors once again. Yes, it does matter. And Christ DOES make a positive difference. They need to see us wrestling with our own humanity and allowing God to make us into better people bringing more love and peace into the world because of Him. I’m not embarrassed because of Christ. I’m sorry if my bearing witness to His life-changing power is embarrassing to you!

            By the way, Happy Chanukah tonight to all who celebrate!

  • Sue says:

    I was certainly glad to read about some parents speaking wisely to, and acting in the best interests of, their offspring in this article. About time.

  • Serena72 says:

    For anyone wishing to sign a petition to reinstate Mr. Levine until or unless criminal charges are filed and a case goes to court, here is a link: https://www.change.org/p/metropolitan-opera-reinstate-james-levine-at-the-metropolitan-opera.


  • Sharon says:

    It seems that Levine was very careful to stay always within the letter of the law. However, although some of these boys may have been “of age” it does not mean that they were necessarily ready for sex. Boys who spend several hours a day practicing instruments and rehearsing are generally more sheltered (and dare I say nerdier?) than the average young man.
    However, although these boys/young men may have been naïve about sex, they were all sophisticated enough about the very competitive classical music business to understand how important Levine could be for their career. Although this may not have been pedophilia it meets the common, if not the legal, definition of sexual harassment. They needed Levine for their careers and were afraid that Levine would not agree to help them, which according to one of his accusers had happened at least once, and possibly even do something to hurt them career wise if they refused. As Ashok Pai says, “You did not say no to James Levine.”
    In addition Levine was and maybe still is an incredibly charismatic and dare I say sexy guy in spite of his weight. This is probably why he was able to maintain a crew of “zombie” like (as one of his accusers said) acolytes. I saw an interview of Levine on the internet with Charlie Rose and I was just amazed. His enthusiasm for his work was so infectious he seemed incredibly attractive and I am not a classical music lover. However, people who are so focused are not always aware of the feelings of those around them.
    Yes, the times were different. Not only were the sixties and seventies more sexually free, especially in artistic circles, but people did not understand the effect of unequal sexual relationships, especially with regard to young people, until we started having a major runaway problem and people began speaking as to how they were traumatized. It was considered acceptable to have a relationship with a younger student or subordinate employee as long as he/she was of age until the 1980s and in many places even later. In the gay world, these young men, some of whom are mentored, employed or supported by older men, were called twinks.
    The fact that the subordinate party would be afraid to say no for fear of destroying his career or livelihood was not considered.
    For a guy like Levine, who was so used to everyone kiss his behind, it is easy to assume that everything was truly consensual if the less powerful party did not say no. Apparently he truly believed that he was”teaching” his acolytes to be less inhibited and more aware or in tune with (please excuse the pun) their sexuality which would help them become better musicians and more creative. This was actually a common belief at the time and it would be easy for Levine to rationalize his actions. Furthermore guys like Levine have a nose for sniffing out the more vulnerable or amenable among his young fans and students.
    Furthermore, because Levine has denied his past so many times he is unable to apologize.
    When the times changed, sexual harassment laws went into effect, and scandals involving priests and others became common knowledge, Levine appears to have stopped or at least slowed down. That is why he could probably honestly say in interviews that his life was an open book. By the 2000s maybe it was.
    I suspect that Ashok Pai filed a police report mainly for therapeutic reasons, knowing that criminal charges would not hold up. This is similar to the therapeutic value of someone writing a poison pen letter to someone with whom he is angry and then ripping it up. Pai probably thought that this action would be symbolically empowering. He had no way of knowing that the police department would announce his complaint to the press and how this would snowball. The others, also angry but previously afraid to speak up, used the current “me too” culture to empower themselves too
    I am a psychiatric nurse and this talk from Levine about devoting his life to young people and the MET frightens me, especially in light of Levine’s physical challenges and back pain which can physiologically as well as psychologically lead to clinical depression. If the MET finds evidence of sexual harassment and permanently severs him from the MET which seems likely, or if one or more of his accusers or someone else whom he harassed wins a “pain and suffering” type of civil suit, he should be put on a suicide prevention watch.
    I read that Levine once asked in an interview “How good do I have to be?” to be so revered as to be immune from rumors and gossip about his unsavory sex life. Actually, it’s just the opposite. The question should have how bad would he have to be as a musician for people not to care. To whom more is given more is to be expected, especially in the classical music world which is considered by many to be so conservative and so wholesome.
    Look, even President Clinton was not immune. In fact, people were much more concerned about his behavior than that of the average person. The higher we rise the harder we fall.
    Whether or not Gelb was part of a coverup he was absolutely right in saying that this is a tragedy for everyone concerned. Let’s hope that eventually all parties involved will be able to put this behind them, “sin no more” and move forward.

    • Hilary says:

      One of the longest, but most perceptive commentaries on this story so far due to the profession of the writer.

      • Sharon says:


        • Kathleen Quinn says:

          I agree with so many things you have said. I’ve been traveling so unable to respond until now but I hope to see your views shared with a much wider audience. I wash more of the people professionally employed as music writers would help educate the public to much of what you have pointed toward here.

  • Jaime Herrera says:

    Temptation and unusual proclivities strike at us every day but especially at people in powerful positions. My view is that – given the sexual history of some other major figures in music (let’s not be hypocritical) and given the fact that these accusers did not come forward for decades – Levine should be promptly forgiven and simply sent into exile to an obscure and small city where classical music does not thrive and, if performed at all, is played incompetently. For him, it would be a fate worse than hell. I think the article was one big marshmallow.

  • Ben says:

    Who else is (are) out there???? Why not just go all-out, name-all?

    To me, the ‘after-the-fact’ reporters like this one are like “let’s make sure nobody rape my kids but, well, it’s ok to let that guy rape all other kids that’s not in my circle”.

    Bewildering, especially these reports consistently portrait Levine as an aggressive, blatant, serial child rapist. Levine could be as evil as advertised, but those people who claim themselves “know-it-all-along” yet don’t do enough are involuntary accomplice too.