Cleveland suspends concertmaster over #Metoo claims

Cleveland suspends concertmaster over #Metoo claims


norman lebrecht

July 28, 2018

Date: July 27, 2018

To: Staff and Musicians of The Cleveland Orchestra

From: André Gremillet, Executive Director

Re: Recent Washington Post article

As many of you are aware, there was an article yesterday in the Washington Post that prominently features our concertmaster William Preucil. Given the seriousness of these allegations, we will immediately be conducting an investigation into this matter. While we do so, Mr. Preucil has been suspended until further notice. We will also be making a public statement that you should expect to see shortly.


André Gremillet Executive Director The Cleveland Orchestra



  • Sue says:

    Whatever happened to the rule of law? He’s a sleaze bag, sure, but when last I heard that wasn’t a hanging offence. “Seriousness of the allegations”. A man invites a woman into his room; she accepts and when he attempts to kiss her this is a ‘serious allegation’. God almighty.

    The woman in question thought it would help her career in getting to know him better. Only a child would reason this way.

    • Jack says:

      Well, I’ve finally encountered someone who still lives in the 1940s. Is this how you operate with the opposite sex?

      • José says:

        Why do you guys still believe that “Sue” is a woman?

      • Phillip says:

        Jack, are you vying with Osborne for the crown of King of Cucks? Don’t be a blue pill sap. Wake up while there’s still time.

        • James says:

          Why are comments this vile allowed on this website?

          • Phillip says:

            There’s this real neat thing called the First Amendment, James.

          • Phillip says:

            It’s “vile” because it expresses a truth that you’re not- and likely never will be- able to handle because it threatens the very foundations of your worldview. The wool is firmly pulled over your eyes. That’s not my fault.

          • Jim says:

            The first amendment doesn’t apply to Slipped Disc, genius.

          • Phillip says:

            Buzz off, soyboy. Aren’t there some damsels in distress you need to white knight for?

          • Jim says:

            Nice comeback. Lucky for us nobody knows what the bloody hell you’re talking about. Isn’t there a Jordan Peterson video you should be jerking off to?

        • HSY says:

          Crawl back to your safe space, Phillip..

          For others who is wondering what he is blabbering about re “blue pill” etc:

          You probably think it’s impossible for a man to be this pathetic – you are wrong.

          • Phillip says:

            You’re the scum of the earth. I actually feel sorry for you though. Ignorance is bliss, eh? I’m pathetic because I see the world through a different lens than you do- oh the horror!! Must fall in line with the leftist goose-step- must comply or will be ostracized and shamed by the tolerant SJW’s!

          • HSY says:

            “I see the world through a different lens than you do”

            Right, as I said, you see the world through the lens of

            You should thank me for providing others with the context of where you come from.

            Also, look at your own comments on this page. You are in no position to complain if someone called you “pathetic”, since you’ve done it multiple times yourself with much worse language. Is this already too much for you to handle, you delicate “snowflake” (to borrow a word from your community)? Time to return to your safe space!

          • Phillip says:

            I would have liked to engage in rational discourse with you, but I can see that’s not possible. Pray tell- who performed your castration for you? Whoever it was did a bang-up job. Cheers

          • Phillip says:

            Also, this is much more my speed than TRP:
            I hope that some poor souls will find this link and discover the truth about the society we live in and nature of male-female interactions.

          • Phillip says:

            One last thing, in all seriousness- I do hope that one day you will be able to consider another viewpoint, despite my admittedly harsh and sometimes over-the-top rhetoric, for which I’ve apologized before. I’m not a belligerent person in real life- sometimes I’m honestly being tongue in cheek and deliberately inflammatory in my remarks. It’s difficult not to let loose once in awhile when one is unable in real life to express anything other than support for misandric feminism and the gynocentric society we live in. That much I do stand by. Men- I mean everyday men, not the “elite” one percent or whatever- are being belittled, denigrated, marginalized, shamed, for nothing- men who have done nothing wrong. The courts and the police overwhelmingly favor women. The statistics don’t lie. Some have had their lives utterly ruined, and no one cares. It’s acceptable and even commonplace to make rape jokes about male prisoners. Mock me, call me pathetic if you must- but think twice about being so quick to side with women and throw your fellow man under the bus.

          • HSY says:

            “but think twice about being so quick to side with women and throw your fellow man under the bus.”

            Am I the first woman you ever talked to in your life, Phillip?

          • Bruce says:

            I have noticed that the people who delight in calling others “snowflakes” etc., seem to be very delicate and easily triggered.

          • Phillip says:

            Well done, all. You won’t be hearing from me anymore- go congratulate yourselves and celebrate in the echo chamber.

          • Phillip says:

            Well done, all- you won’t be hearing from me anymore. Go celebrate and congratulate yourselves. Enjoy the echo chamber.

          • Bruce says:

            ^ …and that is what is known on the internet as a “flounce.”

            “Goodbye everyone. Enjoy your little games here. I have much more important things to do with my time” *flounces out in a huff*

            They usually return after awhile.

          • Phillip says:

            What happened to our truce, Bruce? Et tu, Bruce?

          • Bruce says:

            ^ Even sooner than I expected 😛

            P.S. We didn’t have a truce. You apologized for behaving rudely to me and I accepted. That was all.

          • Phillip says:

            Consider the apology withdrawn. In all seriousness, you’re intolerable.

          • Phillip says:

            In no uncertain terms: fuck you, Bruce, you smug, moronic fruitcake. I will likely comment on future articles but I refuse to interact with you. And you as well, HSY, you odious, post-wall [redacted].

          • HSY says:

            Come on, Phillip. Didn’t you say that “You won’t be hearing from me anymore”? Did you forget what you’ve written already? You are even dimmer than I thought. Why keep coming back to have your face spitted on?

            For anyone else who are disturbed by the exchange: this is exactly the level of exchange this blog is designed for. If not, the owner of the blog would have intervened long ago.

          • Bruce says:

            Those are pretty “certain” terms, lol.

            Have fun with whatever it is you’re doing, Phillip.

        • Nat says:

          This is a classical music blog, not Reddit. If you want your argument to be taken seriously, stop littering your comments with idiotic shibboleths like “cuck”, “redpill”, “white knight”, “SJW”, and stop labeling people who disagree with you as “left-wing”. Nobody outside MRA or PUA message boards talks like this.

    • V.Lind says:

      I suggest you read this articulate and specific account of an episode involving this “sleaze.”

      I find the wording of the Cleveland statement disturbing, however. It is honest enough: it cites the Washington Post article as the reason why it is suspending and investigating Mr. Preucil. They do say there is more explanation to come, which may or may not be as honest, but it leaves the impression that a published allegation has driven a suspension and investigation, which I agree is a little disturbing. But it is probably the trigger for several such actions with prominent and other members of orchestras and music schools in recent months.

      Given the demand by doubters such as yourself for “evidence,” of incidents that you well know are usually committed privately, perhaps the will to publish the accounts in the public presses is as close as a victim can get to providing testimony with some heft. It is subject to abuse, but what isn’t, and it has the benefit of often inciting other people affected by the same accused to come forward, lending weight to allegations of bad behaviour.

      Your notion that any woman who enters a room and closes the door with a man is effectively laying herself opens t whatever sexual advance he might offer is preposterous. I did this frequently with professors when I was a student, with no fear and no inappropriate activity by any professor — though I was asked out by some professors when I met them socially, so neither I nor they were outside the norm — and as a young journalist I was often in hotel rooms or closed offices with prominent and attractive men, also without inappropriate incident. Again, some of these asked me out for a drink or dinner after we had finished our work, but there was no fear in the professional engagement.

      Your lack of consideration for the women in these situations is very odd — while there may be some false allegations floating wound out there, and some women who may well have “asked for it” and regretted it later, there is a clear and dramatic pattern of abuse of power and sexual exploitation emerging, particularly in fields where powerful men have considerable impact on women’s careers.

      A few men may be hurt unfairly in the process of cleaning up this systemic abuse, and that is as awful as it can be — I have seen cases of it in the university, where the accusations are occasionally false and are nonetheless sufficient to wreck careers — but when the dust settles, there will be more male predators than female hysterics.

      I disagree with the notion that you are not a woman. Your attitude seems more like that of a woman who has never been approached by a man at all, and does not know the difference between attracted interest and sexual predatoriness. So you suspect all women of deviousness. Whatever your story and your reasonings, you are consistently unable to deliver a balanced response to a story. As someone urged in another thread, you need to exercise a little kindness. Personally, I would prefer you exercised a total absence from these discussions.

      • Gordon Freeman says:

        Very well said!

        • steven holloway says:

          +100 Sue has always been a bit of a mystery in some ways, but not so much in the important ones. She is, I think, someone always motivated by an ideology; so many of her comments are political in nature, even if the subject is not. But I also have the sense that underlying her devotion to this political creed is considerable anger. If, as I have had reason to think when reading certain of her comments, she is of the middle-class, quite well-placed in the scheme of things, her quite frequently expressed liking for Trump (and I don’t think she’s American, though I cannot know) and for the political Right in all its current manifestations, plus the fact that she seems to exhibit a tendency to hatred, then I must think her devoid of all sympathy, let alone empathy, for those who have suffered in any way. I must express some sympathy for her, for I think she has issues that would benefit from some professional help.

    • The View from America says:

      “A man invites a woman into his room; she accepts and when he attempts to kiss her …”


    • MacroV says:

      You seem to be confusing what a government can do vs. what a private organization can do. The Cleveland Orchestra can terminate his employment (and certainly suspend him with pay) for reputational harm. It’s probably in his contract, which is an instrument of the rule of law.

      And more victim blaming. It was very understandable that a violinist with aspirations to play in a major orchestra would seek opportunities to talk with Preucil when he was in town to mentor said violinist and her fellow fellows; booking the last appointment so they could run long or even have drinks/dinner (to get more time with the Great Man) is a reasonable strategy. It doesn’t give Preucil access to sexual favors; what if it had been a male violinist?

      Preucil will presumably get a chance to clear his name. Though this incident seems to have predated other incidents that by virtue of legal settlements are assumed true. And then there’s the question if there have been relatively recent incidents; there could well be more to come.

    • Emil says:

      Shorter Sue: ‘it’s just attempted rape, it’s not that bad.’

    • anon says:

      I’ve known Sue for years, she is obese and housebound and isn’t getting any, so she spends her nights trolling sites. (BTW, she has a shine for Kleiber above her toilet. Don’t ask.)

  • Magdalena says:

    A woman invites a man for a drink, after several drinks they go to his apartment and he tries to kiss her, she is shocked and leaves. She complains. A man looses his job and his life long career. I assume it is true. Is his behavior inappropriate? Does it deserve such a harsh punishment?
    Real predators should be prosecuted, but there should be real evidence or a real crime before condemning anyone.
    If there is a crime, he should be prosecuted. But gossips and allegations do not make someone guilty. It is so easy these days to destroy someone’s life and their career. As a man you need to wear a body camera all the time and assume any woman at any point can claim you behaved inappropriate.

    • MacroV says:

      A key element you are omitting is that he then called her to coerce her not to report it. So he knows he did something wrong, and is using his position of relative power to keep it covered up.

      Also, as with so many others, this doesn’t appear to be a one-off incident. If it were, it probably wouldn’t have any legs. It’s one piece of a larger puzzle. Wait to see if there are reports of much more recent incidents.

      • rbk says:

        Definitely not a one-off incident. He did the exact same thing to me 25 years ago. I’m pretty sure he makes a habit of it.

  • Hanna Nahan says:

    Allegations are not proof. Is one not innocent until proven guilty in the Great American Dreamland?

    • Tamino says:

      No, they are full steam back to the middle ages. But this time with paper money. And popcorn. And fully automatic guns. Most of them love it.

    • John Marks says:

      Legal process wherein the State can imprison you or take your life is one thing. Constitutional protections apply.

      Prudent business decisions by a publicly-supported organization whose existence depends upon the income-tax-deductability of donations is another. Constitutional protections do not apply.

      You are totally misinformed. Please shut up and study up.

      Furthermore, re: a commenter above, when the First Amendment to the US Constitution was adopted, it only applied to actions by the new Federal Government. Decades later, it was made applicable to “State Action” by US member States. The First Amendment has no effect AT ALL on private actions. Again, please shut up until you have gotten an education.

      John Marks
      Vanderbilt Law School, class of 1979

      PS: I helped Alan Dershowitz get a new trial for Claus von Bulow, so this ain’t my first rodeo. I valued my friendship with Boris Goldovsky, but despite that, I have never thought myself as anything else other than a hick from the sticks, at least compared to the big time.

      But if a hick from the sticks such as I knew, 20 years ago, about the “Jimmy Fund,” then how can anyone at the Met claim ignorance?

      Nonetheless, I would be amused and gladdened if the Met would counterclaim against Jimmy for $500 million for diminution of the value of the Met’s trademark and loss of future fundraising; and I’d advise Cleveland to do the same, but on a much smaller scale. Much smaller.

      • Sue says:

        I would trust a lawyer “as I would adders fanged”. If there’s ever a self-serving profession it’s this one.

        Never mind the First Amendment; what about censorship by groups which just shut you down and don’t want an alternate opinion. What is there in the law to cover that? I suspect, nothing. Because who frames the law but, er, lawyers?

        Alan Dershowitz; with a proud record with regard to O.J. Simpson. Oooo-kay. I think it’s the lawyers who actually need to shut up.

        • José says:

          Useless argument. William Preucil is done. His career is over. I hope you enjoy hell, Will, because that’s where your going to spend the rest of your life.

          End of discussion. You can close the comments, Norman.

          • adista says:

            Hey there Jose, you seem like a really self-righteous guy, how’s that working out for you? Are you also a moderator? Self-appointed I take it?

          • Phillip says:

            José is a groveling, self-abasing, pu**y-worshipping beta male. That’s hell on earth, so he’s way ahead of Preucil.

          • adista says:

            I’m sure Jose has rescued dozens of fair maidens on the internet

          • Anon says:

            To paraphrase exactly what Jose said about Sue: why do guys still believe that Jose is a man?

          • Anon says:

            Correction: Why do you guys still believe that Jose is a man?

          • adista says:

            based on his comments, you’re right, it is debatable.

        • Sharon says:

          I do not believe that Dershowitz was involved at all in the O.J. trial

      • Sharon says:

        I presume what you mean by the “Jimmy Fund” is some money set aside by the Met or money that the Met knew donors would be willing to put up liability insurance, in case the Met was sued because of Levine’s behavior. I believe that both Levine and the Met are only suing each other for around six million.

        I agree that if Levine’s accusers did not go to the mainstream media it is unlikely that the Met would have fired him even if they had other evidence.

        The documents on the Levine case are on the NY Courts website and are public. A trial date will not be set until next March and an actual trial will not take place, if at all, until months after that; this was agreed to by the attorneys Meanwhile depositions (testimony before the actual trial) that are completely confidential, again, by agreement of both parties, will go from this September to November. In spite of the posturing in the various petitions and motions I believe that everyone is expecting a settlement.

        Meanwhile both Gelb and Levine are laying surprisingly low, not only with regard to this but with regard to any public activity.

        • Sharon says:

          Addendum: I have followed this case very closely and I have never heard of the “Jimmy fund”; I assume that some reporter or other Met affiliated blogger would have mentioned it if it indeed did exist, either actually or potentially.

      • Mark says:

        So Mr. Marks, judging by your logic, in the 1950s you would have been an ardent defender of Senator McCarthy ? In those days, any “prudent organization” would get rid of the supposed Communist sympathizers, who would effectively be rendered unemployable. Presumption of innocence isn’t just a legal concept, it’s a foundational principle of a democratic state.

        There was recently an excellent article by Julia Friedman on these sexual witch hunts. It ends with this warning, “ The self-identified “workers of the art world” must realize that once they initiate a purge, they will not be able to control its trajectory.”

        To the best of my knowledge, there are no criminal proceedings against Mr. Preucil. Furthermore, the alleged behavior is non-criminal in nature – he and that woman engaged in a consensual sex. A difference in professional or social standing does not automatically negate consent.

        We all might want to take a deep breath and consider whether we want to live in a world where men are ostracized for simply being men. Who amongst you, fellow men, didn’t use any advantage you might posses to attract a woman ? Do we want to approach a woman with a clipboard and request her to sign a consent form ?

        • Emil says:

          Um…Mark, if “men being men” involves attempting to rape women, um, yes, count me out. Not interested.
          As for “who amongst you, fellow men, didn’t use any advantage you might posses to attract a woman ?“…me? I suspect most men will feel comfortable throwing the first stone at rapists, abusers, and manipulators.

          And if you’re simply trying to make the lazy equivalence between flirting and raping (“you can’t flirt with women without being accused anymore!”), zzzzzzzzzzz.

        • Anson says:

          “Who amongst you, fellow men, didn’t use any advantage you might posses to attract a woman ?”

          Umm, I didn’t. In younger days I had substantial physical advantages over women but never used them to “attract” (read: coerce) a woman. In later years, I had supervisory and mentoring relationships over women, but never used those to “attract” them either. Trying to seduce under the guise of helping the victim’s career is vile.

    • MacroV says:

      Innocent until proven guilty pertains to criminal trials. The Cleveland Orchestra is not the government, and has every right to suspend him (with pay, BTW) while it investigates.

      • Malcolm James says:

        If they’re entitled to dismiss him for reputational harm, this has the potential to descend into a witch hunt. If the investigation simply finds a load of ‘he said, she said’ allegations and re-instates him, will the accuser(s) let things lie? I doubt it. The CO will feel forced to dismiss him to protect their backsides and funding. Bottom line is that Preucil may be a slimeball, but that is not necessarily the same as having committed gross professional misconduct meriting dismissal.

  • Sterling says:

    The problem I have with these orchestras suspending or firing people -now- is that they are only taking action after they have been reported on nationally.

  • Magdalena says:

    Did “the victim” go to the police to report “the crime” that occurred? No, she went to the newspaper instead. The new justice system at work.

    • Greg says:

      Exactly. Apparently propositioning a woman who willingly goes to your room is now “attempted rape.” The definition of what is now considered “sexual assault” has gotten very wide. It actually diminishes the claims of those who truly are physically and violently assaulted. Just looking askance at someone can now be branded assault. If a true crime is committed it should be reported to the proper legal authorities, not sorted out in the media. I don’t posit this to condone anything Mr. Preucil may have done. He does, however, deserve his proverbial (and literal) day in court. Having his career trashed in the manner that is currently playing out is patently unfair. But that is the culture we have created now.

      • rbk says:

        Assault is not “propositioning”. What Preucil does is correctly classified as assault. I know as I experienced the exact same thing from him myself 25 years ago. Grabbing a woman out of the blue, holding her with force and aggressively slam-kissing her is not “propositioning” her. If a woman has to fight physically to get out of a man’s grip, that’s not “propositioning” – it is assault. I was fortunate to get out of the room reasonably quickly, and to have no further consequences (besides being disgusted) as Preucil had no influence on my career. But that doesn’t make it acceptable, it doesn’t make it the woman’s fault, and it doesn’t qualify as “propositioning”.

  • anon says:

    Take away his pension.

  • anon says:

    How many William Preucils are out there?

    How many people know about the William Preucils out there and haven’t said a thing?

    There is at least one William Preucil in every orchestra, whom everyone knows about but is doing nothing about, waiting for him to retire and go away.

    • Mark says:

      How many William Preucils ? Not as many as there are winey, mealy-mouthed “woke” manginas …

      • anon says:

        You shouldn’t be so hard on yourself. Or soft, as it were, being a mangina.

        • Mark says:

          Look, I get it, your inflatable sex doll has run away with your electric toothbrush, and your great love Randa Jarrar doesn’t return your calls.
          So now every guy who gets some is your enemy. It’s OK, hun, the Turkish sultan always needs eunuchs for his harem, seems like a perfect career choice for you.

          • anon says:

            I had to google Randa Jarrar, and I suspect most men would, because you know what, only manginas would and could reference Randa Jarrar.

            You betray yourself: you write with the equivalent of a lisp. Keep flapping those lips, and I’m not talking about your mangina, the more you speak the more we learn who you really are.

          • Mark says:

            Darling, I just love it when you stuggle and talk dirty – keep it up ! 😀

          • V.Lind says:

            It’s not the “getting some” that is offensive — it is the method. Some of the men here seem to be conflating trying to attract women and taking whatever they think they can get away with. Try to get in the grown-up column.

          • Mark says:

            @V. Lind – you are equating a “grown-up” with a p…y-whip. Thankfully, they are not the same. Wise up !

  • Ex-Clevelander says:


    As Jose mentioned: Preucil is done. This latest imbroglio is just the tip of the iceberg. [redacted: defamation]

    Also, for those who have yet to “get it”: Ohio is an “employee at will” state. That means any employer can fire any employee – with or without cause. The musicians union comes into play, of course. But the union is aware of what its members (i.e., the players) want. Note that there has been NO defense of Preucil by his fellow players on social media. His fellow players knew this was coming and they want him out.

  • Mark says:

    This isn’t a surprise at all, and whether he resisted any attempts to quietly retire before is not public. TCO is good at keeping these matters private. The question now is can Peter Otto take over on a consistently high level (I think so) and for how long? Martin Chalifour took over as acting concertmaster when the last concertmaster died, and then left for the L.A. Phil as concertmaster when Preucil was hired. Who wants to go back to the second chair (or,in Cleveland, row) after sitting in the first?

  • David K. Nelson says:

    It is always disheartening when great artists are only that: great artists, not great people. We expect more of them and are foolish to do so. The disappointments never end.

    Preucil is a splendid musician; indeed he comes from a family of them. But for just about as long as I have heard his name I have also heard generic and unspecific expressions of unease — escalating to active dislike — about him. Now we have specifics, but they are not what I sensed the other expressions of disdain related to.

    Whether this incident should cost him his position in the orchestra I do not know, but clearly if these allegations are true he should not be teaching either privately or in an institutional setting.

    (I also have a law degree. Has that become an enhancing credential for commenting on this site?)

    • Saxon Broken says:

      Nelson writes: “It is always disheartening when great artists are only that: great artists, not great people. We expect more of them…”

      Why do you expect more of them? Why would you expect them to be morally better than other people? Personally, I can see no reason to expect anything more from them.

      Actually, if people always make excuses from them, and forgive bad behaviour because of their talent, then they are likely to be worse people.

  • freddynyc says:

    I believe he also has a number of family members who also play in the orchestra. I would imagine it must be quite awkward for them at this time…..

    • The View from America says:

      One of them is his daughter, Alexandra Preucil, a former assistant concertmaster at the Cleveland-Nepotism Orchestra.

      One wonders what William Preucil’s reaction would be if this had happened to Alexandria — not just the original assault, but the threatening phone call afterwards.

  • Robert Holmén says:

    There are quite a few posters here whose rude comments really ought to exclude them from future conversations.

    • Derek says:

      I Agree. Exchange ideas and views but not insults!

    • Razz Matazz says:

      +1 The exchanges of escalating vulgar abuse are hardly edifying.

    • Anon says:

      I am also shocked by those comments. There seem to be personal vendettas among several regular posters and their exchange of vile insults should have no place in this forum. Quite surprised that Norman has allowed this on his watch.

      I, personally, have had posts which, for whatever reasons, were censored by Slipped DIsc and not allowed to pass thru to appear here. Perhaps my opinions were not to everyone’s taste, but at least they were civil and addressed the topic at hand.

      I can only summise that these rabid, vindictive commenters who are degrading each other here but writing under aliases are perhaps influential or important people in the music profession whose identities are known to Slipped DIsc and who Norman does not wish to censure or offend. Or else he’s just not paying attention.

      It’s gotten out of hand. The personal insults, the degrading, abusive comments, are not something we, the general Slipped Disc public should have to see.