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.