‘What the concertmaster did was attempted rape’

The violinist Zeneba Bowers has gone public in the Washington Post today with an account of her experience of alleged sexual assault by the Cleveland concertmaster, William Preucil. In an additional reflection for her friends (and Slipped Disc), Zeneba decides that she has left some important things unsaid:

Thanks to Anne Midgette and Peggy McGlone at the Washington Post who wrote a very important article about the MeToo movement in the classical world. This post is just to add a little further detail for those that are interested. I’m adding in a few notes about the music business since many of my friends are not in the biz.

1. New World Symphony is an elite orchestral academy whose goal is to place its students in leadership positions in orchestras around the world. Concertmasters from top orchestras were brought in to teach us private lessons. When NWS posted the sign-up sheet for lessons, I’d make a beeline to it and I’d always take the last lesson of the day. That way I could get extra time if the lesson wanted to go long, and if I felt I had a rapport with the teacher, I would always ask them if I could take them out for a coffee or beer afterward. I used to keep a yellow legal pad. As things happened in rehearsal (conflicts between principal players, concertmaster/conductor relations, etc.), I’d record them on my yellow legal pad. Then at one of these coffee or beer summits I’d ask my questions (e.g. “How would you handle this?” Or “What’s standard protocol for this?” It was part of my effort to educate myself, as I hoped to be in a leadership position myself someday, and virtually none of the “rules” are actually written down. I went to several coffee/beer summits with several concertmasters without incident. All but one were male.

2. My lesson with Preucil was at 4pm. I remember that little detail because I remember being concerned about the appearance, but I thought that a 5pm drink was not a big deal. Right outside the hall is a large pedestrian zone full of cafes and bars. It was broad daylight and there were thousands of people around. The last lesson of the day was always 4pm, and as I mentioned above, I always tried to snag it.

We walked a couple of blocks down the pedestrian zone and stopped at one of the many cafes. I think it was a whiskey bar but I wasn’t a whiskey drinker at the time. I don’t remember what drink I had but it was probably a glass of wine. (I know it was alcohol; so if that is a judgement issue for you, go ahead and start chalking up your black marks now.)
I went through my legal pad questions; in my memory we had a good time. He is an affable guy and easy to talk to. His hotel was at the end of the pedestrian zone, and my apartment was a few blocks past that, so we walked together. About two blocks past the bar, he stopped dead in the street, and started panicking; he had left his Stradivarius at the bar.

He started running and I ran with him. We got to the bar sweated and panicked, but there it was, tucked by a chair. We were both extremely relieved and shared a moment in the street, laughing and trying to catch our breath. He begged me not to tell anyone. Of course I agreed. This was the “good” kind of way a man in power asks a subordinate not to tell anyone about an incident: No one was harmed, but had it become public knowledge that he left a priceless work of art sitting in a whiskey bar in Miami it would have really damaged his reputation. I felt like we now had a little secret and I was happy to keep it for him. I’d had a great violin lesson, we had had a good time going over my work questions, and now this funny thing happened, and I thought the day was a success. We kept walking down the pedestrian zone and as we got within sight of his hotel he asked if I would like to have a cigar with him. “My ticket to the boy’s club!”, I thought. It was still daylight out. I felt safe. It was not until I got in to the room that I saw there was no balcony, and there would be no cigars.

Note: I did not give him my phone number. As I ran home panicked and crying after the incident, he must have called the front desk at NWS housing to get my number. My phone was ringing as I walked in the door. There was no caller ID in those days so I picked it up.

3. Obviously the most disturbing part of this type of incident is the physical violation of your body. But one aspect of this that is so overlooked is the impact that something like this has on your career.

Networking is vital to our little music business. A mentor or teacher can see you on stage and see you have the chops for the job, but they will know several dozen just like you. Often the thing that sets you apart is a personal connection, however small. That can be the difference between you getting a chamber music opportunity, or a substitute gig on an orchestra tour, or even a one-year contract in an orchestra (which can lead to a full-time, tenured gig.) It’s no accident that we don’t have equal representation of women and men in leadership positions in the music world. If we do network, and something like this happens, then plenty of people ask “Why were you going out with him” or “What did you think would happen”. (For reference, just see any comment stream on this article.) If we don’t network, then we are cut off from all the opportunities (and they are vast) that occur because of networking.

After this incident, which I have only recently begun to be able to call an attempted rape (because it was, but I feel sick even typing it out), I realized that a lot of my opportunities would be cut off. The 18 years I had invested to that point in my life studying this instrument and attending elite schools already had a hard stop on any progress I could make because I’d made a powerful enemy, and any audition I took to get in to any of the places he worked would be a futile waste.
I realized that in all likelihood, there were many like him in the business, and this would happen again and again; and I despaired. I realized that I would have to create my own opportunities, if I wanted to perform music and know that I would be safe. I have attempted to do that in my career.

I am very grateful to the Washington Post for writing this story. Obviously they couldn’t include this amount of detail or the story would have been the entire paper, but I think the work they did was excellent. And I don’t just mean this article, but also the respectful way they have treated me over the last 6 months.
I was unable to read the article before it went to print; that’s how real newspapers work. I read the article when I landed in Atlanta after flying in from Milan, sweaty and stressed and exhausted. Over the years, in the course of my career, I have been misquoted dozens of times, and I had a decent amount of stress about this article since I would have no chance to see it before the world did. But I put my trust in the professionalism of the writers, and I’m glad I did.

share this

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on google
  • william osborne says:

    There have long been similar reports about Pruecil such as this one from 11 years ago, but the orchestra has continued to employ him, as has the Cleveland Institute of Music. In light of the allegations, and even large consequent costs for the school, I wonder why CIM would continue to have him work with students.

    Several orchestras have had similar problems but have retained the musicians. One victim, many years ago, told me how she was assaulted by a famous flutist in a top orchestra when she was 13 years old. Is it proper for orchestras to continue employing musicians when highly credible accusations of sexual assault and harassment have been made against them? Why do orchestras seem more resistant than many other arts institutions to sanctioning egregious sexual misbehavior? My question isn’t rhetorical. I’d really like to know.

    https://www.clevescene.com/cleveland/sour-notes/Content?oid=1497679

    • william osborne says:

      Should public institutions like the Cleveland Orchestra and the Cleveland Institute of Music, which are funded by many donors, and which receive government funding, be obligated to make a statement about their working relationship with Preucil? Or is it appropriate that they remain silent?

      • Cherie M Valeithian, Oh.D. says:

        No, they CIM should absolutely NOT continue to let this jerk work with students!!!

        • Cherie M Valeithian, Ph.D. says:

          I misread your question. Yes, the CIM should make a statement about their relationship with Mr. Preucil. And they should suspend him aluntil the investigation into the allegations is complete.

    • Saxon Broken says:

      Um…you can not (and should not) fire someone just because an accusation has been made. There has to be some formal process, and the accused has to be treated fairly. You have to establish the actual guilt of the person accused (even if not necessarily to the standards of a criminal trial), and demonstrate that their behaviour affects their capacity to do the job.

  • Deborah Mawer says:

    ==had it become public knowledge that he left a priceless work of art sitting in a whiskey bar in Miami it would have really damaged his reputation.==

    His Stradivarius is now the least of his worries.

    By the way, when did all this happen ? Maybe I missed it, but couldn’t quite work out from the posts

    • Mark Stryker says:

      The incident happened in 1998. (It’s in the opening paragraph of the original story in the Post.)

    • william osborne says:

      If precedent is any indication, Preucil will not face repercussions. He’s scheduled to perform on the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival this week. The festival has said the performance will go on as planned. They also said they knew nothing of the problems surrounding Pruecil, even though they have long been known in the classical music community. In my view, it seems more likely the SFCMF was simply ignoring them like everyone else. And that they will continue to do so.

      A local paper, the Santa Fe New Mexican, reports:

      “Violinist Ida Kavafian — an artist-member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and the artistic director of Music at Angel Fire [another New Mexico music festival] — is scheduled to appear with Preucil at his three Santa Fe performances. She declined to comment on the allegations against him.”

      Not untypical.

      http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/sexual-harassment-allegations-surface-ahead-of-violinist-s-s-f/article_ff4b0f21-e8b4-5319-941c-d92a8bd5aea0.html

      • william osborne says:

        Perhaps it is no coincidence that Anne Midgette is the only woman music critic working for a major US paper, and that she is the one who wrote this article which makes a broader analysis and condemnation of the problem than any other that has been written.

        I see a post above by the esteemed Mark Stryker. I hope that he and his colleagues in other papers will stand in solidarity with Anne and expand upon her work. Sexual harassment is a major hindrance for many women musicians. As Philip Kennicott described Anne’s article, “It is, among other things, a requiem for lost talent, forced from the field by predatory men.”

        There is much work to be done to solve this difficult problem, and it is very difficult to report, but good journalism helps. Knowledge lights the darkness, and awareness brings change.

        • V.Lind says:

          This incident, as described, goes far beyond sexual harassment. It was assault.

          Ms. Bowers might well want to publish the above as a follow-up to the Midgette article. It is well-enough written. And her exposition of the important, life-altering consequences of resisting attack to a young woman musician is very clearly laid out.

        • Mark Stryker says:

          A quick aside to William Osborne and others to note that I left the Detroit Free Press at the beginning of 2017, so I am not in position to follow-up on Anne Midgette and Peggy McGlone’s reporting. However, I applaud their exemplary work in the strongest possible terms and agree that others in the game at other newspapers and magazines must continue to unearth these stories. It is only with the light of exposure that the situation will improve. I certainly noticed that one of the anecdotes in the Washington Post story, concerning opera director Bernard Uzan, occurred in Detroit. If I were still at the Free Press, that’s where I would start my follow-up reporting.

      • Steven Ovitsky says:

        Preucil has been replaced for all of his remaining concerts at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival.

  • william osborne says:

    I think another problem is that people will try to rationalize reported events because they happened long ago. Zeneba Bower’s was in 1998, but in 2007 there was another incident by the same person at the Cleveland Institute of Music that deeply harmed a student and cost the school a great deal of money. Obviously, if action had been taken in 1998 it might have prevented the trauma to the student in 2007.

    Speaking in general terms, time lines of reported events can sometimes be very incomplete. They might not represent a complete picture of all the misbehavior. According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, even in the most serious case, rape, only 310 out of every 1000 are reported. Only 57 reports lead to arrests. Only 11 are referred to prosecutors. Only 7 will lead to felony convictions. And only 6 will be incarcerated. So remember to view timelines as possibly very sketchy. RAINN’s stats are here:

    https://www.rainn.org/statistics/criminal-justice-system

    • Koji Mukai says:

      I believe the 2007 incident is the one mentioned on this page: http://www.osborne-conant.org/email2/harassment.htm ?

      • william osborne says:

        Yes, that is correct. The Clevelandscene.com article entitled “Sour Notes” about the 2007 incident has been moved and is now here:

        https://www.clevescene.com/cleveland/sour-notes/Content?oid=1497679

        I hope that people will read the link provided by Koji Mukai, since it provides some contextualizing information.

      • william osborne says:

        Another link in my 2007 commentary is also broken. The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s article about the resignation of associate concertmaster Ellen dePasqualehas been deleted, but a similar report in Playbill is here:

        http://www.playbill.com/article/cleveland-orchestras-associate-concertmaster-resigns-on-principle

        It explains how dePasquale resigned from her post in the wake of the creation of a new chair in the first violin section that would supersede her position. They couldn’t fire her, so they created a new chair to bypass her. There were questions about the propriety of the action and its motives, but some of the most important articles about it now seem to be gone.

        I wrote about these incidents and others at the time:

        http://www.osborne-conant.org/email2/harassment.htm

        • william osborne says:

          In short, I wrote about the Pruecil incident in 2007 after reading the Clevelandscene.com article. (I merely summarized the article in a post to the International Alliance for Women in Music, and included the link.) And 11 years before that, in in 1996, I wrote about two very serious incidents of sexual assault, one in the Philadelphia Orchestra, and one in the St. Louis Symphony. The 1996 article (and my related Internet discussion) initiated worldwide protests against the Vienna Philharmonic, but the issues of sexual harassment continued to be ignored. The article is here:

          http://www.osborne-conant.org/excuse.htm

          So it is sobering to see something finally being done 22 years after my first article — and now that I’m an old man… I’m happy that a woman was put into a major music critic job in 2008, that Zeneba Bowers had the incredible courage to come forward with her story, and that after a decade on the job Midgette wrote a major exposé about the problem of sexual harassment and assault in classical music.

          On one level, MeToo is about sexual assault, but ultimately MeToo means that women also get to be a full part of society’s cultural life. The day is coming when they can truly say Me Too!

  • boringfileclerk says:

    This surprises no one, but glad it’s come to light. It goes as far back as his days at Eastman, possibly earlier. Can CelloBello offer any insights about what anyone knew during his time with the Cleveland Quartet?

    • Joshg says:

      “Insights” meaning what, more gossip? Once a public allegation has been made, is it now the job of everyone within that person’s professional orbit, even from decades ago, to come out and respond? This is between the accused, the accuser, and the accused’s employers. Adding more fuel to the fire doesn’t accomplish anything. The anonymous online community of nosy gossip-mongers needs to mind their own business a bit more.

      • Bruce says:

        “The anonymous online community of nosy gossip-mongers needs to mind their own business a bit more.”

        While not disagreeing with you, I had to LOL a little bit. It’s important to remember what the internet is for 😀

  • william osborne says:

    Cleveland.com, the website of the Clevleand Plain Dealer, has reprinted the Washington Post article. I’m wondering what the Plain Dealer wrote about a 2007 incident of sexaul harassment involving Preucil at the Cleveland Institute of Music, if anything. The most notable reports were in the unrelated, alternative paper Clevelandscene.com. A quick google search doesn’t bring anything up by the Plain Delaer, but Clevelandscene’s articles are easy to find.

    Big local papers often have a kind of symbiotic relationship with local orchestras and avoid or soft pedal critical reporting. They consider it a kind of civic duty to promote and protect the local orchestra. (Though probably unrelated, the Plain Dealer even removed its long-time music critic after the Cleveland Orchestra complained that his consistently negative reviews of Wesler-Most were biased.)

    I also noticed that the major exposé about Levine’s astounding sexual abuse at the Cleveland Institute of Music during the early 70s was wirtten by the Boston Globe, not the Plain Dealer. It’s as if the Plain Dealer has been scooped by both the Boston Globe and now the Washington Post.

    So I’m wondering if the Plain Dealer will write their own story about this sexual harassment and assault issue now that it is in the national spotlight, especially since Pruecil and Levine’ activities have been major topics, and both teach or taught at the Cleveland Institute of Music . Or will the Plain Dealer let other papers do the reporting, and follow a pattern of “gentlemanly discretion” about ungentlemanly matters in order to protect their local orchestra.

  • Caravaggio says:

    Like the Levine affair (it’s very quiet recently on that front), why is this individual, Mr. Preucil, so protected? As has been argued around the Levine situation, both men’s enablers and protectors over time need to also be made to kneel before justice. And as everyone knows, these enablers and protectors and influencers run the gamut: from agents to managers to public relationists to the top echelon of administrators at elite musical institutions to board members to critics and journalists to superfans.

  • Sharon says:

    I am not justifying Preucil’s conduct in any way, shape, or form. However the culture has changed. Until the late seventies and maybe later, if a woman was willing to come to a man’s bedroom or hotel room to “see his etchings”, as the joke went, it was assumed that she was willing to have sex. In fact, if a woman was willing to see a man alone in any area that had the equivalent of privacy of a room with a locked door it was assumed that she was willing to have sex and that frequently included being in a car. That’s why they had chaperones.

    Nowadays, in the days of women’s equality, coed dormitories and bathrooms, gender fluidity and pan sexuality no one under 50 would assume that a woman, even if she were straight, would necessarily be interested in sex even with a man with whom she had shared a hotel room every day during a four week orchestra tour, but in yesteryear this was not the case–if a woman agreed to go alone to a man’s apartment or hotel room it would have been assumed that they were having, or would be having, a sexual affair.

    This cultural attitude. which is still shared by many over 50 or those who come from conservative cultures was part of the reason Preucil could get away with what he did– unfortunately, many in power shared the belief if a woman agreed to be alone with a man then the sex must have been consensual

    • william osborne says:

      I lived in a co-ed dorm at the University of new Mexico from 1972 onward. I can’t imagine anyone outside of places like Saudi Arabia teaching at a conservatory in 1998 who would think going to a room automatically means willingness to have sex.

      • Sharon says:

        Look at Sue’s and YoYo Mama”s comments and you’ll see what I mean.

      • Sue says:

        You should make the presumption based upon doubt and uncertainty. Think the worst and you can never be disappointed. Somebody here mentioned ‘kindness’ was missing from the comments. Being intelligent and kindness have little in common nowadays.

        And I’ll bet you the people of Salem were being ‘kind’ to the rest of the people of their community when they hunted down those dreadful witches.

        We’ve seen a surfeit of compassion in the polity and this has resulted in increased concerns about liberty and freedom and speech; shutting down what people have to say in the name of ‘kindness’ and ‘compassion’ has its insidious side. But you’d have to be out and about much more to figure that out.

        There’s no substitute for personal responsibility and being wise and cautious. It can do a lot more for you than the deep state.

        That’s my two bob’s worth.

    • Cherie M. Valeithian, Ph.D. says:

      I’m over 50, and I do not, and never did, assume that a woman who went to a man’s hotel room, or other place where they were alone, was willing to have sex with him. Besides, these events took place in 1992, when sexual harassment was already a topic of discussion in society.

    • Maria says:

      So, let’s say a woman does decide she might want sex with a guy and goes to the hotel room with him…and all of a sudden he touches her and she doesn’t like it for any reason and says: I don’t like this I will go now…what does that make her? A tease? Maybe, who cares, a woman has the right to tease as much as she wants…He should be the one who has to go cry to his friends about the woman who teased him and left him unsatisfied…Men can handle that. If a guy friend tells me a woman did that to him, I will not be worried about him at all or hate that woman…Women have a harder time dealing with rape and harassment and assault, the goal is that no girl or woman has to endure that ever…
      Fact is: a decent man in all generations knew and knows: when she wants to shut it down, he has to hope for a next time…and maybe try a different tactic or give up and move on, maybe the next lady likes it, maybe a better colongne might work or he could try working out or be more charming, or just go home and charm his wife… aggression in any sort or form makes him a low life beyond repair…so please, no talk about the “culture” of different times. A decent man is a decent man. A low life is a low life…this guy is a low life…

  • Mark Stryker says:

    Anne Midgette reports on Twitter this afternoon:

    “Consequences begin: in the wake of @PeggyMcGlone ‘s and my article on sexual harassment in the classical music world, the @CleveOrchestra suspends concertmaster William Preucil ‘until further notice’ while conducting independent investigation into allegations of sexual assault.”

  • Barry says:

    He’s been suspended by the Cleveland Orchestra.

  • YoYo Mama says:

    Again, we are expected to care about a woman’s feelings, than the truth or a man’s point of view. She was utterly stupid, being an adult, in going to his hotel room, and that is her own fault. That he MAY have tried to have sex with her is NOBODY’s business, and she deserves to be sued for libel for going to the press. Shame on her. Thank you for considering his family in trying to trash his reputation. The disrespect is alarming. The MeToo “movement” is a scourge, and Midgette should be fired for printing such trash for consumption. What happened to journalistic standards?

    • Sue says:

      I have to agree with this. Didn’t her mother tell her not to go into a man’s private space for any reason whatsoever? Especially a teacher. And it was long enough ago for that to have been very much the culture; ergo, long before people were fed an endless diet of rights and zero about responsibility.

      God, I’m so bored by this culture of helpless victimhood – at time when women had and have more ‘rights’ than ever before.

      • Caravaggio says:

        But women do NOT have more rights than ever before. As if having more but not equal were good enough. The serious problem of sexual harassment in the workplace aside, consider the epidemic of gender pay disparity. It permeates every inch and corner of the economy laterally and vertically. Why or how is this tolerated? Imagine the untold societal benefits if everyone regardless of gender was paid 100% equally for comparable work.

        • Sue says:

          You need to do some reading about statistics with the so-called ‘gender pay gap’. Look at the research into countries in Scandinavia where they have greater equality than any other nations and women choose NOT to have those high-flying careers. Ergo, the ‘pay gap’. Glib answers to complex questions just won’t cut it.

          Women need to take responsibility with regard to the battle of the sexes. Develop some nous; but they’ve been infantilized by the notion that the state can fix all their worries and the endless diet of rights has also contributed. How do you think generations and generations of women survived the advances of men over the centuries? I fear where all this will go as and the parent of 3 adult sons I see them carrying the ‘sins’ of white guilt and all the other balderdash of political correctness. They’re as fed up with it as my husband and I are.

          There have always been predatory and sleazy men; there will continue to be. And there are also (here’s a scoop) sleazy women. We should have the smarts to identify those people. Darwin got it right…”the survival of the fittest”. And it ain’t difficult. You just have to do it without nanny.

          • The View from America says:

            And what about your three daughters?

          • Quodlibet says:

            Sue,

            Have you ever been subjected to an unwanted sexual advance? Been the object of unwanted sexual commentary? Been cornered in a music studio by your teacher? Been groped backstage? Been denied an advance or fair pay because of your gender?

            No? Then keep your bored victimhood to yourself. You state over and over again that you find this all to be boring you. Poor you. Here’s a suggestion: Don’t read stuff that bores you, and don’t take up your valuable time telling us how bored you are by other peoples’ suffering. Go practice or something. Be KIND.

            Yes? Then admit it and show a little empathy. If you are a woman, chances are that you have been subjected to sexual harassment or assault. Admit to yourself that yes, those experiences were disgusting and humiliating and infuriating and that you suffered, and acknowledge that other people have suffered and are suffering, and that this is a systemic problem across many industries. Be grateful that people are brave enough to speak up so that others may be spared. Be KIND.

            Really, it seems that your primary goal in commenting on this blog is to belittle other peoples’ experiences. Why? Why not be kind? I do read here every day (and comment rarely), and you know what? I play a sort of game … when I read posts on certain topics, esp sexual assault and harassment, I say to myself “I’ll bet Sue is going to post some cranky, dismissive comment.” I wish there were a way to monetize my private bets, so that I could win lots of $$$ and donate it to a progressive charity that works to bring regressive minds into the 21st century.

          • AC says:

            Here are several of the claims and implications that are part of this story:

            1. There are multiple allegations that Mr. Preucil directed unwelcome and inappropriate sexual advances toward young women whom he was engaged to teach. (In 2007, given the opportunity to deny one such allegation, Mr. Preucil did not do so.)
            2. Ms. Bowers was attempting to promote her own career by opportunistically socializing with Mr. Preucil, but when he attempted to have sex with her she found that inappropriate.
            3. Because Mr. Preucil is very powerful, this limited her career prospects, and similar incidents have limited other peoples’ career prospects.
            4. The music world is set up so that some people are given great power by virtue of their superior artistry. Worse, young people are taught to look up to such superior artists, to try to get close to them in order to gain wisdom and opportunity. Even worse, young people are often taught that superior artists are superior because they are wonderful people.
            5. Partly because Mr. Preucil had that power, and partly because of the way the music world is organized, there was and is no way in for these kinds of charges to be brought in a formal way and duly investigated. Not that in most workplaces it’s perfect, but it’s worse in an organization like the Cleveland Orchestra or the New World Symphony.
            6. It’s not just Ms. Bowers’ loss. Her presence may help the excellent Nashville Symphony. But it sure seems like abuses of power have kept some of the finest orchestras from having the opportunity to audition some very fine players.

            Sue, you’ve only addressed points 1 and 2. I can’t say I agree with you about these points, even: regarding point #1, how can one possibly suggest that the victim (and her mother and her culture) are guilty but the perpetrator isn’t? And regarding point #2, which I’ve intentionally stated in an unsympathetic way, I’ll admit there’s something annoying about people who are opportunistic in the way Ms. Bowers presents her 26-year-old self–but it’s just annoying, nothing more. It doesn’t excuse predators.

            I would rather hear what you have to say about #4, because I have a feeling that’s what’s really irking you. (#4, of course, is sort of the point of this website and Norman Lebrecht’s whole career–but by continually drawing attention to music’s tawdry star system do we perhaps merely continue to prop it up?)

            And if you want to know why, for example, big companies have gone in for what you call “the balderdash of political correctness”? Not out of niceness or a desire to be a nanny. It’s because they want to attract and keep people who are talented, no matter who they are. #6 is important, and if you ignore it you’re misrepresenting the whole issue.

      • Sharon says:

        It was not long ago enough to be part of a younger person’s culture. When I was in college in the mid seventies we had coed dormitories and coed bathrooms in the dormitory and young people of opposite genders shared rooms without having sex. However, we were pioneers. Older people believed that younger people needed chaperones.

        As far as victimhood is concerned– Well, when someone is taken advantage of in an unequal power relationship then he/she IS a victim. People who are concerned about their own rights and see themselves as victims are also generally concerned about the rights of others who are also powerless. . It’s like “spoiled” kids. They may seem selfish as kids but as adults they will “spoil” others.

        In a previous post you mentioned the heroism of Autrey Murphy. Were you aware that after WWII he had bad PTSP and towards the end of his life educated others about it? See his wikipedia article.

        People who have the “stiff upper lip” all the time end up being dysfunctional in some other way, like having addictions, anger management problems, or depression.

        I would prefer “cry babies” as you might put it, as my friends any day, over people who lack compassion and believe that people who face an injustice have only themselves to blame for not being smart or shielding themselves enough.

        I choose idealism over cynicism and I believe that idealism over cynicism is the message of much classical music and opera.

  • YoYo Mama says:

    This so-called shift in cultural attitude only betrays the selfishness of young people and their complete lack of respect for older people and the order of society. If you go to someone’s apartment, or room, anywhere that is private, they are naturally and completely free to make a pass at you, even physically. That is nature’s way, and nothing can ever change that. GROW UP.

    • Sharon says:

      This guy did more than just “make a pass” although no one should try to touch someone intimately without her/his permission even in a private setting.

      Preucil tried to rape an unwilling victim and then essentially tried to blackmail her over it.

    • MacroV says:

      I don’t know what world you live in, but I certainly never lived in one where the entrance – even a very willing, uncorced one – of a woman into my residence made me assume she was up for a sexual encounter.

      • steven holloway says:

        +100 I find the idea bizarre. If every time a female student came to consult me at the universities I taught at for 43 years, I considered it an opportunity and my right to seduce her, grope her or rape her, I would have been a predator, simple as that. Frankly, I think anyone who seeks to defend such behaviour has a screw loose.

    • Sharon says:

      Nature’s way? Even a male dog will only approach a female for sex when she’s in heat

    • Emil says:

      It is so much acceptable that he felt necessary to hide his true pretexts and lie about his intentions. If it is “nature’s way” as you say, why do rapists feel they have to hide their actions?

  • Eastman violin says:

    Zeneba Bowers was an undergraduate student at the Eastman School of Music while William Preucil and the Cleveland Quartet were on faculty. It seems worth noting that she knew him far before her mid twenties, as the article seems to suggest. She was in the studio of Lynn Blakeslee, not Preucil, at Eastman. A lot of female students oohed and aahed about his playing but that certainly does not excuse terrible harassment, etc. I agree it’s best not to go to hotel rooms, or to drink heavily. Of course, that still does not excuse harassment or assault. Some men might misinterpret flirtiness for invitation for sexual predatory behavior, but in a highly professional situation with a powerful person, the responsibility is on the person with the power to behave respectfully.

  • Sue says:

    As Dr. Jordan Peterson would say about many of these comments, “grow the hell up”. Predatory women teachers preying on young students, women prison guards having sex with inmates. Power differential? You bet.

    Most of the comments here are just plain silly. Help me, nanny; get your discrimination commission or human rights going so I don’t have to make intelligent decisions!! You are not all little princesses.

    Gawd, Carlos Kleiber would have been in BIG TROUBLE.

    • Mark says:

      I think most great artists would have been in big trouble. So nowadays “sexual assault” is any sex somebody regrets in the morning ? The little idiot went to an older man’s room – what did she expect, a cupcake and a teddy bear ? I have zero sympathy for her.

    • anon says:

      It seems your TV channel is stuck on Fox, which is obsessed with stories of women teachers fucking their teenage male students and female prison guards, more fetishistic fantasies of Fox management (when they’re not grabbing the pussies of their female anchors) than news.

      As Jordy Peterson, a personal friend and frequent S&M partner, would say to you, “why don’t YOU grow the hell up”.

  • MacroV says:

    Preucil has been a controversial figure for some time. That 2007 article reported sexual improprieties and legal settlements, as well as apparent nepotism (though that’s an orchestra that often seems to hire close to the family). Two types of abuse of power/position. It didn’t seem to have any lasting repercussions then. Times are different now.

    • MacroV says:

      Sorry, should have added: The Cleveland Orchestra suspending Preucil in response to the Post story, while probably appropriate, is a little Claude Raines-ish: They’re shocked, SHOCKED, that their concertmaster is alleged to have used his position to prey upon young women for sexual favors. It’s as if nobody in the management ever read that 2007 article, or doesn’t know anyone over at CIM, which paid a hefty settlement related to Preucil’s actions.

      I guess nobody can sue the orchestra since none of his alleged actions were carried out as an agent of the orchestra, but professing shock fails the laugh test.

  • Jan says:

    Our society has found a modern way to express its mob public lynching tendencies. if Preucil committed something illegal, go to the police and file a case against him. It’s not up to society to force these institutions into firing and suspending people.
    Also, this girl who went up to his room, herself admitted she wanted to get to make her way up by getting personal with Preucil. What the heck was she thinking, that really, a concertmaster of a top tear orchestra is dying to hang out with some random student in his hotel room as buddy buddies? Give me a break, this is ridiculous. Like some people have said here, stop playing victims and take responsibility.

    • Phillip says:

      Thank you. I cannot deal with the primitive mob mentality anymore. The world is going to hell in a handbasket, and this gynocentric, moronic society we’re living in is (fortunately) careening towards collapse. High time to rebuild anew.

    • MacroV says:

      A violinist, a graduate I assume of a top US conservatory and accepted into the very competitive New World Symphony, wants a chance to pick the brain of one of her profession’s leading practitioners. THAT’s what she’s thinking. OK, I probably would have declined the hotel room invitation, but she’s dealing with him in a professional context, and has a right to expect he’ll behave himself. Or at worst, if he somehow propositions her and she declines, he should be enough of a gentleman to say “Well, I tried,” and move on, without then trying to intimidate her out of reporting it.

      Seriously, the victim-blaming (and the low behavioral expectations of Preucil – a married man at the time and AFAIK still today) I see in comments like these is really deplorable.

      • The View from America says:

        With a daughter, too — Alexandra Preucil — a former assistant concertmaster at the Cleveland-Nepotism Orchestra.

        One wonders what William Preucil’s reaction would be if this happened to his own daughter …

  • Sue says:

    @ Quadlibet:

    Yes, I’ve been subject to sexual harrassment in the workplace and was once bodily thrown out of a car for refusing sex. But I brushed myself down and moved on, to bigger and better things. Victimhood be damned, for me AND my daughter. I didn’t not have to go bawling to nanny.

    You need to read this: welcome to the brave new world!

    https://trib.com/opinion/columns/charen-can-feminists-cure-what-ails-men/article_57265e88-5131-52be-9fd2-d09b525a49c6.html

    • Phillip says:

      Hear hear, Sue! We live in a world filled with aspiring professional victims- your fortitude and courage are a breath of fresh air.

    • MacroV says:

      OK. But what about denying impunity for victimizers? The alleged victim in this case doesn’t necessarily stand to gain anything; not much chance of a book/movie deal for a Nashville second violin. But not letting Preucil continue to get away with it is a worthy goal.

    • The View from America says:

      It’s nice that you’re speaking for your daughter now … that’ll change minds for sure!

      lol

    • QuOdlibet (It's a well known musical term!) says:

      Well, Sue, you must surely be the most amazing person in the history of humanity. Every other person who has not been able to shrug off sexual assault or sexual harassment as easily as you have done is obviously a worthless crumb of humanity, and should just crawl back into the Closet of Shame and hope that the perpetrators can be forgiven for succumbing to temptation, because that’s what you are really saying — that the victims are TO BLAME. For shame.

      If you are actually a musician (and I see no indication that you are), then I recommend that you devote … let’s say, 20 hours over the next two weeks to practicing nothing but JSBach. That should clear your brain of everything except pure beauty and humanity, and then perhaps from that perspective you could take a more humane view of what is ACTUALLY happening in our world, and perhaps you can develop some kindness and empathy.

      Until you change your perspective, –> you are part of the PROBLEM.

      from

      QuAdibet [sic] — LOL! Perhaps you are not actually a … musician??!! All the real musucians I know are familiar with basic musical termini logy, such as…

      …QuOdlibet <– It's a musical term! Music!

    • V.Lind says:

      Your link’s article is drivel, like most of her work.

      You might note that women who are outing their predators are fighting back, which from where I stand is the opposite of victimhood.

  • Anon says:

    She invited Mr. Preucil out for a drink. Not the other way around.Then he allegedly invited her up to his hotel room. What did she think was going to happen honestly? A game of chess? If the allegations are true, why did she wait 20 years to make the accusations and not press charges when she could’ve? She has absolutely no legal case here unless there’s some sort of forensic evidence. Even If these allegations are true, since she has no legal case, Mr. Preucil can sue all of the media outlets for libel and her for defamation of character and win. This is a lesson to all victims of sexual violence to go to authorities immediately.

    • Eastman violin says:

      I am not sure that she herself is trying to make a legal case. As a violinist that studied at Eastman, I can say I survived an elevator ride alone with Preucil, but that does not take away from other people’s experiences. Zeneba is a very outgoing person, and I already said I would not advise trips to hotel rooms or heavy drinking, however he had no right to threaten her career. It’s tru women can tease without being condoned. Move on to the next woman she try a different tactic if you had no success as a man, as one other person suggested. There is a lot of grey area with teasing and flirting.Once sex is proposed, there is an implicit knowledge that careers can be threatened by the man that is turned down. I myself was pressured to have sex by a concertmaster with a concertmaster’s friend who was a conductor I worked for. We were all out for drinks ( I only had one ) in a group of four in a public restaurant. Explicit suggestions were made by the concertmaster that I go have sex with his friend. The concertmaster was my teacher in childhood which makes it worse, and yes there were red flags then, but as an underage minor I was not in a position to judge my teacher. Students look up to their teachers that are often powerful artists. It’s not reasonable to expect students to confront their teachers. Teenage girls already look like women but it does not excuse inappropriate comments on appearance or flirty behavior, even if it was much more limited from actual abuse. It sends the wrong message to girls that they are valued for their looks or how they please men. I also fear my career chances have been limited, and it affects where I audition. It’s always blame the victim. For example, The person dressed a certain way or smiled too much. That’s not an excuse for making sexual suggestions. Men should never assume women want sex from them unless the women says so in direct words. Men invariably will get mad and vengeful if turned down, if they are of a bad character, and powerful musicians are more prone to be egotistical, demanding, narcissistic, etc. there is no great or reasonable option for someone once propositioned explicitly for sex by a powerful person. It’s true some of these men might not hold it against you, if you decline the suggestion, but most will. Powerful men should not proposition their direct subordinates for sex. All musicians should feel safe to socialize before and after concerts in public settings without being propositioned for sex by people that have power over them. Networking is part of every career and field. Connections matter. I agree it’s best not to go to hotel rooms. There was a hotel room suggested, and I certainly did not go to a hotel room. It happened in a public restaurant. It has caused me a lot of sorrow because I looked up to my teacher that made the suggestion, as he was egging me on to have sex with his conductor friend. It’s not acceptable, but happens far too often. A lot of money is a stake when people audition for jobs. No one should feel their career is ruined or limited over a personal decision they made not to have sex with a powerful person. It also is bad for confidence and self esteem. Women want to feel valued first and foremost for who they are as people, their talents and achievements, far before their looks.It is about making sure all talented people have the same chances regardless of their personal choices about their personal life. There are musicians with morals. Artistry is not an excuse for abuse, harassment, blackballing, intimidation, etc. assume that women will not have sex outside of a relationship if you are a powerful person. I certainly had no personal relationship with this conductor beyond socializing at receptions.

      • Eastman violin says:

        What I meant is women can tease without being condemned. No assumptions should be made. If a man is turned down for sex, they should not be vengeful like is alleged with Preucil, but move on to other experiences. In his case, it sounds like his tactics were no where near acceptable. Excuse the typos.

  • Benjamin Greenfield says:

    I remember hearing about these allegations 10 years ago when I was a student at one of the other Cleveland music schools. Thank G-d at least one of his victims has been taken seriously.

  • nona says:

    There will be more! Wait for it.

  • >