University strips James Levine of degree

University strips James Levine of degree


norman lebrecht

May 04, 2018

The State University of New York has rescinded honorary degrees that it granted long ago to James Levine and Bill Cosby.

Levine won’t mind much: he never went to SUNY.

Best part of the Page Six report is the ‘famed conductor’ correction.


  • anon says:


    Even Lang Lang got an honorary from Oxford!

    Just out of pride, I would’ve returned the honorary degree before people realized I got one from SUNY.

  • Sharon says:

    Hey Man! No need to knock a state university. I have two masters degrees from SUNY. Incidentally, I would be interested to know from which college did he actually receive the degree.
    Frankly, however, in this case I believe that rescinding the degree is an unnecessary slap in the face, like not broadcasting his performances on Met Opera Radio if that is not happening for legal or financial reasons.
    Levine did tremendous things for music education in New York State,and a lot of colleges in the SUNY system focus on preparing students for teaching qualifications, including in music education.
    However, I do know that many would squawk if SUNY did not rescind it.
    A lot of times honorary degrees are given in return for something, like a free lecture, speech, or performance from a famous person. I wonder what if anything did Levine do for the college where he received the degree.

  • Sharon says:

    I did not read the NY Post article before I wrote the previous post. SUNY Potsdam is the home of the Crane School of Music which is considered one of the foremost, if not the foremost, music program for undergraduates in the New York State University system. It prepares a lot of students for qualifications as full time music teachers in the government public school system.

    If a student’s family cannot afford Julliard or another big name private school he/she attends a place like SUNY Potsdam. which is close to Montreal, and qualifies in music pedagogy or music therapy. This gives him/her something to fall back on while he/she is waiting for his/her big break. (I’m trying to be politically correct with the his/her).

    Didn’t the pre Met Levine teach at such a college in the midwest before he became an assistant conductor in Cleveland? Isn’t that where he first formed his Levinite “cult”?

    • anon says:

      I was just ribbing SUNY just to get the thread going, you know, some of these posts call for tongue in cheek comments, of course SUNY Potsdam is a top music school.

      • Sharon says:

        I realized that. If I knew how to do it I would have added a smiley emoticon

        • Max Grimm says:

          Type : – ) or ; – ) (without spaces between the colon/semicolon, hyphen and bracket) and what you get is 🙂 or 😉