Just in: NY Philharmonic fires two musicians

Just in: NY Philharmonic fires two musicians

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norman lebrecht

September 17, 2018

The New York Philharmonic has told the New York Times that it had dismissed two players for misconduct. No further details have been given.

The players dismissed are central figures in the orchestra: the principal oboe Liang Wang, and associate principal trumpet Matthew Muckey.

 

Their dismissal awaits approval from the musicians’ union.

NY Phil President Deborah Borda said: ‘the New York Philharmonic is committed to providing an environment of respect and dignity for all of our Philharmonic family.’

The New York Times delves no deeper.

UPDATE: Statement from the NY Philharmonic to Slipped Disc:

The New York Philharmonic received reports that two musicians, Liang Wang and Matthew Muckey, engaged in misconduct. The Philharmonic retained former federal judge Barbara Jones of the Bracewell law firm to investigate the matter. Following the investigation, the Philharmonic advised the musicians that their employment was terminated. At the request of their union, the Philharmonic delayed the implementation of the termination and placed the musicians on an unpaid leave of absence pending the union’s review of the matter.

Message to commenters: Be aware at all times of the libel penalties you may face for naming an alleged perpetrator.

Comments

  • Richard says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if this is just about Deborah Borda putting her foot firmly on the ground. I’m not going to name any names, but this also happened in the LA Philharmonic shortly after she joined where members had to leave for unexplained reasons.

    • MacroV says:

      She’s not going to come into the job and announce her presence by firing the principal oboe, who is an amazing player and probably a superstar in China, where the Philharmonic has been cultivating the market.

    • Yanny says:

      It’s a smart move because she is not raising the money that she was suppose to. Point out to some other issues are great strategies!! Also shows who is the boss! She should ran for office.

  • Frank says:

    Read oboe Facebook. The incidents have been out there forever.

  • Keith Sklower says:

    Could the reason that the Times has not “delved deeper” be that both the musicians have retained legal representation, that there is sure to be court proceedings, and that the terminations are not yet final? Please don’t interpret my statement as lack of sympathy for the musicians; this has happened so recently that my speculation is that the news media is just waiting for more information.

  • anon says:

    Once upon a time, the NYT classical music critic/reporter regular kept in touch with musicians and management of the Philharmonic and Met, so that they are on top of the latest news, nowadays, the NYT classical music department spends all their time posting their favorite youtube video selections of the week.

    To be fair, the NYT has moved all its resources to the Washington desk. Trump requires 24/7 coverage.

  • william osborne says:

    These firings are based on an incident that occurred about six years ago. The allegations are appalling — for one of the men, far more than sexual harassment — and have been deeply upsetting to orchestral colleagues around the country.

    It is notable that the previous administration overlooked the issue, but that when a woman became CEO, the matter was firmly dealt with. We saw a similar pattern in the firing of an abusive musician last year who had been in the orchestra for 37 years. His abuse was overlooked for years until a woman took over.

    • william osborne says:

      Another troubling part of this incident is that there is an appearance that two women in the orchestra were forced out of their jobs because of it. One made the allegation of the very serious incident, and the other stood in solidarity with her. Both women were in their trial year with the orchestra, and both were dismissed while the alleged perpetrator and his accomplice remained.

      Fortunately, the two women who are both stars in their field, found other good jobs (though not as high paying) and they seem quite happy. Still, what can replace playing in the NY Phil? Their positions have long since been filled, so there is no possibility for them to return which would be the most complete justice — and I doubt they would want to. But as I say, they are happy and still very prominent. In any responses, do NOT mention their names.

      • Anon says:

        William, it sounds as if you’re talking about the brass incident that happened a while ago, which did affect 2 female players and has already been dealt with appropriately by management.

        Is this new incident, with 2 entirely different players, somehow related to that previous incident?

        Most of us are especially shocked about accusations against the oboist. It doesn’t seem like this could possibly be related to anything that went on in the brass section.

      • Musician says:

        How do you know they are happy? Big assumption.

      • FAGGTRON MCGENERAL says:

        the NY Phil is an awful orchestra.

        • jaura says:

          You couldn’t be more wrong. They have been playing gorgeously ever since Maazel basically turned them into the world class orchestra they always should have been. But let’s not forget the incredible players themselves. We are talking about perhaps the finest oboist in the world! Get real.

        • Yanny says:

          Yes! It’s a political orchestra. All about circles of friends. Any orchestra has its gossip, mature management make them grow up, but the current one is using that on the members! Divide to conquer!! Isn’t that some sort of harassment and bullying?

    • anon says:

      I can’t find by googling any “incident” 6 years ago, which puts it in 2012, but to illustrate the disconnect between the real world and the world of classical music reporting, which was reported on CNN to the NYT to this site, the “major incident” of 2012 at the New York Philharmonic was that Alan Gilbert stopped Mahler’s 9th mid-concert because of a cell phone ringing!

      I mean, THAT was the news, even though apparently, you guys in the industry had heard about the much more significant sexual incident that eventually caused the firing of these 2 guys, nobody reported on it.

      Sad state of affairs indeed.

      • Anon says:

        OK. Here is one of the incidents which Mr. Osborne refers to. It has nothing to do with with either of the players in Norman’s current post. It’s not explained very well, but you can deduce from the reader comments what happened. http://slippedisc.com/2017/09/breaking-new-york-phil-deletes-its-principal-horn/

        There was another brass incident – low brass as I recall – which did indeed affect 2 rising female brass players, one of whom spoke out in solidarity with the other. Both, as I understand , have been reinstated. The accused has been blackballed from the business. These 2 incidents have been dealt with and resolved by management.

        Neither of these past incidents has anything to do with the latest accusations against the oboist or the trumpet player, as far as I know. These are new accusations. It’s important that William Osborne should not get them confused or inadvertently mixed up with something that’s previously happened.

        Mr. Osborne’s world is primarily low brass. I respect that he knows a great deal about incidents that have happened in the past with certain players in that family. But we are talking about the Principal Oboe here, and the Principal Trumpet. Unless he knows something specifically about the accusations against those 2 players, it would be better for him to wait to comment until more info is available.

        Lumping all sexual harassment claims into the same bag is dangerous. These are new accusations, NYPhil is under new management, with a new music director and the players here are not the same. It’s not fair to accuse a Principal Oboe based on what a Principal Horn may have done with women years ago. In fact, it’s absurd.

    • Anne says:

      Can you please explain the allegations without naming names? Most of us are completely in the dark about this and would like to know more details about what happened. Person A did ____ to person B etc.

      Thank you for responding.

    • anon says:

      We know at least two names from that era: Matthew VanBesien, the prior president, and Alan Gilbert, the prior music director.

      What did they know, and what did they do about it?

    • william osborne says:

      Since the incident is still under investigation by the union, and since there might be litigation, it is best not to go into details. If it goes to court, the astounding details will become public.

      One thing I can say is that Deborah Borda’s artistic innovations and management skills have no comparison in the field. She has the courage to do things no one else has.

      • Mark Henriksen says:

        If you actually have any relevant information on which to base your conclusions, then you should indicate how others can access that information. Otherwise, its just innuendo and perhaps irrelevant information to these firings.

        • Tom says:

          Sorry, Mark. It sounds like you’re an outsider to this situation and you’ll just have to wait for the information to become public. You should be well aware of what insular social and professional networks musicians develop. Friends of friends have heard what’s happened.

        • william osborne says:

          The information is not accessible to the public, nor should it be. My only point is that the allegations are from a few years ago, and were only addressed with a change of management.

          • Anon says:

            You are incorrect. This is a recent incidence.

          • william osborne says:

            I would find that very surprising. The two men who have been fired were the two involved in the alleged incident about six years ago. The incident took place while the orchestra was in residence at Aspen and Liang was Mathew’s roommate. It would be an extraordinary coincidence indeed if exactly these two men recently did something wrong again serious enough to be fired. Very unlikely I would opine!

            My wife was given a very detailed account of the incident not so long after the event, but I want to exercise caution and note that her information is only what she was told by someone close to the situation. For our own protection, we want to stress that the facts might differ from my wife was told.

          • Saxon Broken says:

            William: why is it a surprise if the two people were involved in a fresh incident?

          • william osborne says:

            The incident cause a scandal throughout a large part of the professional community. One would think that under such pressure, the people facing the allegations, and on such thin ice, would try to stay out of trouble. If the allegations of additional infractions are true, then I would think we are dealing with a very reckless person. But again, I can’t speak with certainty. I do not know all the facts.

    • william osborne says:

      It may well be that there are new incidents that the orchestra is acting upon. I do not know though I, and I think many others, would find it astounding if the earlier incident I refer to were not included. And it may be that the the allegations that the Philharmonic considered are NOT connected between the two men. I doubt any of us have the right to know these details. The musicians and the orchestra are entitled to a good deal of privacy in personnel matters like these.

      And I agree that this is tragic for all involved, the two men, the two women pushed out of the orchestra, and the orchestra itself. I hope the best resolutions are found, and that Borda’s goal of “providing an environment of respect and dignity for all of our Philharmonic family” is achieved.

      • Anonymous says:

        William, the 2 women who were “pushed out” (they were subs as I recall, not permanent members. The men involved were tenured members) pertain to a PREVIOUS INCIDENT. To my knowledge they have absolutely nothing to do with this current matter.

        Unless you are claiming that there was a big orchestra wide orgy where men from the horn, trombone, trumpet and oboe sections all simultaneously assaulted these same 2 women at the same time, these are SEPARATE INCIDENTS.

        Yes, precedents are important. But considering each accusation, with the specific victims and circumstances involved, is more important.

        • william osborne says:

          I won’t discuss the details of the case. For one thing, I’m not in a position to do so, since I only know what I’ve been told, not what I saw. Hearsay is proof of nothing. I can only say that sometimes musicians have roommates from other sections. And I can say that the two women were not subs. They won the auditions for their positions and were in their trial year, something almost all orchestras give new hires before giving them a permanent contract. To my knowledge, all of which might not be complete or accurate, they had not faced any complaints about their playing.

          This is my last post on this topic. If the facts are made public, that should be done by people with first hand knowledge and who know all the facts with certainty.

      • anon says:

        Williams Osborne there is considerable backtracking from your earlier posts, in fact, you really don’t have any knowledge, it’s pure speculation on your part.

        • Mark Henriksen says:

          You nailed it!

        • william osborne says:

          Making it clear that ones knowledge is not first hand is not backtracking. Typically on SD, reports about sexual abuse are discounted or rationalized, and I suspect that is the motive of your statement. One thing is certain, and as has been noted, the orchestra would not have fired the two musicians without very solid grounds. I strongly the suspect, as do many in the field, that the scenario will be what I’ve referred to.

          • Musician says:

            Vail, not Aspen you twit.

          • barry guerrero says:

            Name calling is neither necessary or productive. Control yourself, please.

          • Saxon Broken says:

            William,

            If the incident was six years ago then it would be almost impossible to start proceedings against the alleged perpetrators now. It would have to be something that happened fairly recently.

          • william osborne says:

            No that is not correct. Employers can look back many years, especially if it is part of a pattern of behavior. For example, one of the most publicized alleged incidents involving the concertmaster of the Cleveland Orchestra occurred about 20 years ago.

            We should not confuse criminal and civil law. Criminal law requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Generally speaking, civil law requires only a preponderance of evidence. Criminal law is bound by statutes of limitations, but generally civil law faces far fewer time restraints.

            That said, many states have greatly extended the statutes of limitation for severe sexual assault. The limitation in Colorado is 20 years.

        • Disappointed says:

          I will confirm that based on the details provided thus far by William I have heard a very similar story. That is quite bad. A lot have. I also heard that this happened years ago with these same two musicians in the orchestra and t has been common knowledge in this industry (much like Levine and other incidents)
          My question is why would anyone make this up and specifically about these two musicians? While we are at it I will confirm that I know allegations against massimo are 100 percent true. I am disgusted at my industry.

    • Anon says:

      Regarding the 37 yr musician, Miss Borda had nothing to do with that situation, nor was she at the NY Philharmonic during that incident.
      Please stop posting nonsense as fact.

      • william osborne says:

        You are correct. I confused the time frame. The incident with the 37 year person was in the summer of 2017 and Borda began in September of 2017.

        • Anon says:

          Nor has the NY Philharmonic ever been in residence at Aspen, as you posted above.

          • MacroV says:

            Vail. Easy to confuse expensive Colorado ski resorts.

          • william osborne says:

            True, it’s easy to confuse them. What we see in this discussion is the eagerness to deny and rationalize sexual assault. This includes, of course, trivial attempts to discredit anyone speaking out against it.

          • NY10023 says:

            Vail or Aspen doesn’t matter. Easy mistake. Both have music festivals.

            The important part Mr. Osborne gets correct. There are serious allegations of sexual assault / harassment involved. And in Muckey’s case at least, there are multiple people who have said he sexually assaulted them, in different incidences. The Colorado incident was not the first.

            I am shocked they weren’t fired years ago.

          • Saxon Broken says:

            William,

            Wanting to ensure a fair process is not the same as attacking the victims or down-playing the seriousness of sexual assault.

        • william osborne says:

          Looking at this closer, I think it likely that Borda played a role in Meyers’ dismissal. It was announced in September 2017, the same month that Borda became CEO of the orchestra. But this would need to be confirmed.

  • NYCMusician says:

    Don’t drug and rape people, and you probably won’t get fired. Simple as.

  • Old Man in the Midwest says:

    It’s hard to get fired from a US orchestra these days. Almost impossible unless there is “just cause” (in legal terms).

    So the NYP management must have had credible evidence to whack these players and the union, if they try to defend them, will spend the money and lose the case.

    The money would be better served being put into the flailing pension fund which is on life support.

    • MacroV says:

      Yes, and neither – esp. Liang Wang, who is a star in the huge China market – is likely someone the Philharmonic would have any desire to terminate.

    • NYMike says:

      The pension fund you refer to is the AFM-EPF, not used for tenured NY Phil musicians except for Nat’l Media work they do. Their regular pension fund is their own private defined benefit plan similar to most (but not all) major US orchestras.

  • Luigi Nonono says:

    None of it is anyone’s business!
    However, this does give the NYP the chance to right a historical wrong and hire Blair Tindall as Principal Oboe.

  • Robert Groen says:

    Oh no! No more bottom-pinching, PLEASE!

  • Anon says:

    OK, so here’s an ethics question: assuming these guys are guilty, they are still great artists. Is it wrong for lesser orchestras, say in more developing countries, to offer them opportunities, say as soloists?

    • MacroV says:

      It’s a fair question. Does the music world blackball two obviously brilliant musicians, preventing them indefinitely from earning a living at their craft? Unlike Kevin Spacey or James Levine, they probably can’t afford never to work again.

    • Georges Sand says:

      A lot of musicians are brilliant artists, and they’re lined up five deep behind anyone. Enough with worshipping false idols already. Like the audience can tell…

    • Bruce says:

      I’d say there’s nothing wrong with it as long as they are not enabling them to engage in further predatory behavior.

      (For example, with my orchestra, visiting guest artists often agree to give a master class under the auspices of the orchestra. With such a guest, you might not want to offer that option, or put something in the artist contract saying that they will not be allowed to give private lessons that are in any way connected with the orchestra. I suppose you can’t control what they do in their hotel room, or prevent them from accepting an invitation to someone’s home; but you can at least protect your organization from being accused of complicity.)

      The public may or may not be aware (or made aware) of the artist’s past history, and if they are aware, they can decide whether to attend. We had Valentina Lisitsa a few years ago when the controversy about her supporting the Russian “intervention” in Ukraine was still hot. I think she had just had a concert with the Toronto Symphony (?) cancelled; my orchestra prepared a statement in case the controversy reached Spokane, but AFAIK nobody complained.

  • Robert Holmén says:

    What are the likely future career prospects for someone who has been ousted in such a manner? What has become of such people in the past?

    Have they resurfaced in a lower-tier orchestra? Transplanted themselves to another country? French Foreign Legion? A monastery?

    • william osborne says:

      A trombonist was fired from the St. Louis Symphony in the mid 90s for an alleged sexual assault of a staff member so serious that he was fired on the spot. Not so long afterwards he obtained a new job in the Kansas City Symphony. Lesser paid, but still one of the better US jobs.

  • LadyHere says:

    Just because you’re a star or a genius (or even if you’re not) doesn’t give you the right or priviledge to wreck another person’s life, or their opportunities.

  • Anon says:

    Enough! WILLIAM OSBORNE needs to stop. He doesn’t know a thing about this matter. I shouldn’t reveal information regarding the news, but it is annoying to many of us musicians that he is spreading so many untruth about this on this blog. Sir, please stop acting like a noisy half-full water bottle. You are not connected to our industry. Spreading untrue gossips relate to this news is deeply immoral.

    • william osborne says:

      When you’re ready to put your name on your post, you might have some credibility. It is well-known that the infamous “anon” misogynists of SD make up countless posts because they do not have to stand behind them. I doubt you’re even a professional musician.

    • NY10023 says:

      ANON: interesting you seem so upset by these reports.

      William Osborne has given pretty accurate information. Liang Wang and Matthew Muckey were at the center of an investigation regarding sexual harassment and assault. The New York Philharmonc brought in a third party, a former federal judge, who looked into the matter. She seems to have concluded they both deserved firing.

      The total number of alleged victims probably is unknown.

      Burying these things is how people are able to continue for years by moving around.

  • Jasper says:

    I find this whole back-and-forth very confusing. Is William Osborne (or any of the other posters) referring to the departure of Philip Myers (NY Phil Principal Horn)? There were rumors as to the reason for Myers’ departure, but I never heard anything definitive. There was absolutely no mention of his departure in the NY Times.

    Notice of Myers deletion from the NY Phil website was posted on Slipped Disc on 19 September 2017 (http://slippedisc.com/2017/09/breaking-new-york-phil-deletes-its-principal-horn/), which technically falls within the tenure of Deborah Borda.

    Was there was ever an official pronouncement from the NY Phil in this regard? (Retirement? Dismissal? Resignation?)

    Jasper

    • Satsam says:

      No. The Phil Myers departure is essentially unrelated. He was thought to be let go for being verbally abusive towards orchestra members (which he was, incredibly so) and for a couple of specific incidents that likely triggered his removal. Mr. Osborne and others are speaking here about Liang Wang and Matthew Muckey being fired for “misconduct.” It is thought that the misconduct the NY Phil is referring to, which they had a former federal judge investigate, is related to several past incidences of alleged sexual assault/harassment. How many seems unclear. It is also unclear if there were new incidences that brought this up or if it is the 2-3 (at least in Matthew Muckey’s case) that happened in years past.

      • william osborne says:

        Whatever the case, it would certainly be an odd coincidence that it was exactly these two musicians who were allegedly involved in the Vail incident “from years past” where the allegations were extremely grave. If it doesn’t involve that incident the Philharmonic should clarify, since it caused much concern in the orchestral community. As Norman notes, to drop this press release bombshell without at least some general explanatory framework is questionable.

        • SATSAM says:

          William without being certain I would think that incident was involved in the investigation. There are several other stories as well. You are absolutely correct, it was hard for so many in the orchestra world to see basically no consequences after someone extremely credible came forward with such serious and horrifying allegations. There were at least two accusers for Muckey. That does not create an environment where people feel they can speak up to abuse. Like many stories of powerful people taking advantage, it’s very possible we only have heard of a fraction of the full number of alleged victims. It is extremely difficult for victims of assault and harassment to come forward. Often their lives are practically ruined for a time and as is obvious now, frequently perpetrator(s) saw little to no punishment. The good news here is the Philharmonic brought in a former federal judge to do an investigation, and they seem to have obviously taken her recommendation. I understand if we won’t know fully what happened. It seems likely there are some who do not want to have their stories brodcast. Which would be understandable. This should really help people at least at the Philharmonic feel safer, that if they come forward with an allegation they will be taken seriously, and it will be investigated by a third party who doesn’t care if the alleged perpetrators are powerful members of the organization.

          • Samson says:

            Could either/both face jail time?

            If so, the public firing is nothing in comparison to a prison sentence I think.

            Damn, seems really ugly:(

          • william osborne says:

            Thank you. It is a relief to so many professionals that this situation has finally been address.

    • william osborne says:

      Jasper is correct. Given the date of the announcement, I think it likely that Borda played a role in Meyers dismissal even if the actual incident took place shortly before the begin of her tenure.

      • Anon says:

        You have posted this 3x and are 100% wrong

        • Robert Holmén says:

          It seems unlikely that the CEO of such an organization would let a major personnel decision like that continue on autopilot without at least inquiring as to why it was happening, getting briefed on why it was happening and OKing that it would indeed happen.

  • Sad Musician says:

    Another witch hunt in the great USA. New CEO digging dirt up on musicians and cleansing the orchestra. Why does everyone care so much about what they did and if they did it? Come on, nobody really cares about that… it just makes for a great drama episode. To dig up something that happened 9 years ago? In a different state? A case that has already been closed? What good reason is there for that? It’s not like anybody is actually going to reopen that case and look at the details (another he said – she said situation). Can any of you remember what happened 9 years ago? I sure do not. On a different note, Cleveland, William Preucil? 20 years ago in a hotel room? Can anyone exactly remember back 20 years ago?

    “According to the New York Philharmonic’s 2016 Form 990 tax filings, Wang was among the orchestra’s most highly compensated musicians, earning more than $400,000 that year.” (https://www.npr.org/2018/09/17/648742433/new-york-philharmonic-musicians-in-limbo-after-investigation)

    Deborah certainly does not care about that case. Why should she anyway when the New York Philharmonic’s budget is struggling. Why not dig up some dirt on your musicians and fire some, especially if they are two of your highly compensated. Replace them with almost as great sounding ones (definitely no difference to the general concertgoer today) and save a LOT of money in the process. In the name of “providing an environment of respect and dignity for all of our Philharmonic family” of course. With the politics that go on behind the curtains in New York Philharmonic, I would not be surprised. And the press release to NY Times saying “unspecified behavior” – at least she is doing the honorable thing and not destroying their career completely. All of you bloggers can speculate and buzz about that – eventually it will come out.

    Maybe Liang Wang can move to Europe or back to China to make an impact there. What about Matthew Muckey? Maybe he can just relax back home in California – no more opportunity in the classical world here. Perhaps in jazz.

    What North America lost are two brilliant, incredible musicians unmatched in talent and musicianship. The trumpet and oboe worlds lost careers and legacies of two musicians who already made an immeasurable impact during the last 12 years. Is that justified with regards to what they did? That’s up to you – people who have no idea what it takes to work your entire life for that job, what it takes to win that job, and what it takes to do that job at the highest possible level every day. Nobody in the Philharmonic or almost anywhere in the world for that matter can do that job better than them. What a disappointment.

    • Quodlibet says:

      You have just provided a great example of one aspect of rape culture. (Don’t know that that is? Look it up.)

      Your message, distilled, is this:
      – People who are immensely talented or powerful should be able to do what they want. The fact that they worked hard to get to the top somehow makes them immune from responsibility for their actions. (The hard work and talent of the alleged victim however, is not part of your equation. She is invisible to you.)
      – Protecting the careers of immensely talented or powerful people is more important than preventing, solving, or punishing any crimes they might commit, or offensive behavior in which they might engage. (The victim’s right to justice is invisible to you.)
      – Rape is a “he said, she said” sort of situation, as if it were a lover’s spat, rather than a crime. (You dismiss or fail to understand what rape is and its effects. Your concern is with the artistic careers of the alleged perpetrators.)
      – The passage of time reduces the seriousness of a crime simply because it was long ago. (Does time un-do the acts? Make the alleged perpetrators less accountable? Erase the suffering of the victim?)
      – Sexual crimes are less important, less traumatizing than other crimes. (Why?)

      You are supporting rape culture.

      Try to imagine the situation as if the victim were your daughter, son, sister, wife, etc. Or how about if you had been victimized in this way? Would you feel different? Would you want justice and truth and accountability? Or would you say, “B-b-b-ut they are so talented! The music world will lose their talents. Who could really say what happened all those years ago? Even if I, or my daughter, or son, or wife, were to tell what happened, it’s nothing more than he-said-she-said. Let it go!”

      What if the musicians in question were from a genre you don’t like? Suppose you hate rap. Whatever. If you had heard that two rap musicians on tour with bandmates had committed a drugged rape, would you say, “Oh they are the two best rappers in the USA! What a loss of talent if they were to be held accountable. ANd it’s a he-said-she-said situation, amirite?”

      What if it were a crime of a different nature? Supposing two famous musicians on tour with their orchestra drugged a co-musician and stole her or his belongings. Let it go? or try to find out what happened? What if it were your belongings that had been stolen? Would you feel the same?

      Same holds true for any of you here and in the rest of the world who give Trump a pass for his admitted assaults of many women. You are enabling that terrible behavior and minimizing and disregarding and erasing the experience of those who have been assaulted.

      A little more empathy would go a long way toward making this world a better place.

      • Sad Musician says:

        I certainly did not mean to say that rape should be overlooked here. It is wrong and the individuals involved SHOULD face due consequences.
        I believe what I said was that there HAD been an investigation and HAD been a case which is now closed. This is where we trust the way the justice system works in this country. Why would someone need to reopen this? My point being is that it is certainly not out of the goodness of Deborah’s heart or feeling sorry for the victim.

        However, if this case has never been dealt with and both musicians just went free because the police and everyone who knew about it turned a blind eye, then I am wrong and I agree with you. They should lose their career and be punished for it because they committed a crime. BUT, a crime needs to be proven, with something more than an allegation which, today, seems like all it takes in order to end someone’s career. It is very difficult so many years after the fact to find anything concrete besides what people “say” happened. UNLESS, there had ALREADY been an investigation done back then. And if there has been one then why reopen this again? Did I already say that…?

        • Sad Musician says:

          As a matter of fact, I never said ANYTHING about rape in my OP. I do not understand why you would assume that I am heartless to the point of letting that go unpunished.
          I am as heartless as anyone else. Especially in New York City. Especially in the New York Philharmonic who just made a lot of money from these firings.

        • NYMusician says:

          A former federal judge investigated the details here for 5 months, and seemingly determined both merited firing.

          Multiple women in separate incidences have accused Matthew Muckey of rape. He was even arrested at one point for violating a restraining order.

          I can’t see how anyone could complain they were fired. To many people this has needed to happen for years. How could they possibly stay on under these circumstances? That would set a horrible example.

    • MacroV says:

      There’s too much nonsense there to engage. But one point: The Philharmonic won’t save any money in firing Liang Wang and hiring a “cheaper” replacement. For one thing, the legal costs would far offset any expenses. Second, the Philharmonic will pay any principal oboe well. Especially if, as is likely, they hire one from another major orchestra. Third, the Philharmonic has a strong and growing presence in China, and Liang Wang was surely a big part of that. I’m sure they fired him with great reluctance.

    • Jackie says:

      Respectfully, this is the dumbest thing I’ve ever read.

    • Bruce says:

      “Can any of you remember what happened 9 years ago? I sure do not. On a different note, Cleveland, William Preucil? 20 years ago in a hotel room? Can anyone exactly remember back 20 years ago?”

      Don’t be silly. Of course we can all remember certain things from long ago. I have no trouble remembering the reactions of a couple of famous teachers during my auditions for music schools in 1982, or the car accident I was in in 1987, or the way my conductor smiled at how I played a phrase in the “Posthorn” Serenade in 1993.

      To claim that someone can’t remember something simply because it happened a long time ago is ridiculous.

      (What did I have for lunch 4 days ago? I have no idea.)

  • Insider says:

    Rape is not a good thing my friend. When you rape a girl, you get f’ed up.

  • Anon says:

    Inappropriate behaviour in orchestras was rife in the past – it was the culture and can only say from a female perspective, the younger generation don’t tolerate nor engage this way. But twenty years ago in London orchestras….and who shares rooms on tour, unless it’s by mutual consent?!

  • william osborne says:

    I would like to mention a general topic that may or may not be related to the dismissals under discussion. I can’t say because I am not well-enough informed.

    It is important for orchestra musicians in general to have solidarity with each other, it creates the best sorts of orchestral performance and cohesiveness, but in cases of people being sexually assaulted it is obvious that solidarity must immediately be transferred from friends or close colleagues to the person being assaulted. It’s not a matter of being a do-gooder or hero, but obviously a fundamental aspect of human decency.

    And it would be even worse if in a misguided sense of friendship or collegiality one tried to help someone cover up an assault. They would obviously become complicit in that assault, and organizations would obviously need to respond with sanctions depending on the severity of the assault and cover up.

    This also makes it important why intervention is necessary. It protects victims from horribly destructive experiences, and it can help keep the potential perpetrator (possibly one’s friend or close colleague) out of immense trouble that can destroy his life.

    This also applies to instrumental groups within an orchestra. We cannot let friendship and collegiality blind us to sexual violence against people, nor can we allow it to create bias in seeing that violence for what it is. (Something I sense even in the discussion here.)

    But again, I must emphatically stress that these thoughts might not even be applicable to the dismissals at hand because I do not have certainty about the facts.

    • Musician says:

      William Osborne, you speak in nonsense and riddles and are factually out to lunch. Please quit why you aren’t even close!

  • Jasper says:

    [redacted] Associate Principal Trombone for the NY Phil for two seasons, then left for lesser positions at not-as-highly-ranked orchestras. Does any of the current controversy tie in to her departure from the NY Phil?

    Jasper

    • SATSAM says:

      You should not be posting any potential victims names! This does not mean that person was or was not a victim, but do not speculate victims by listing their names. It is highly inappropriate. Victims have already been harmed enough.

      • Jasper says:

        To SATSAM: Well now, in an earlier post on this thread, you wrote of Philip Myers’ departure from the NY Phil for reasons that are entirely speculative on your part. No official declaration came from Myers, his alleged accusers, the NY Phil, or anyone else for that matter. You are trading in innuendo and gossip.

        Jasper

      • Just a Girl says:

        It’s not like the NYPhil is exactly a paragon of gender diversity in the brass section. They’ve hired a grand total of three women into tenure track positions. One received tenure. It was already mentioned that the women involved did not receive tenure. Anyone with a cursory knowledge of Google already knows who is being discussed even if they didn’t know previously. The only anonymity that exists here is what you’re perceiving in your mind.

  • Ormandy says:

    Basic asymmetry here; the alleged perpetrators have been named but their accusers cannot be named. What can be done to salvage the reputations of Liang Wang and Matthew Muckey if they are eventually exonerated? How can they reclaim their good names?

    Ormandy

    • NY10023 says:

      Ormandy:

      A full investigation for months, led by an un-biased former Federal Judge, has now come to conclusion. The recommendation as we see given down was both deserved to be fired. This is not simply unconfirmed allegations with no investigation. They are extremely serious, and documented. If the investigators came to the conclusions that the evidence showed all the accusers were lying, you might have a point. They did not. And from what many know, there is extensive evidence, including an expert who showed a positive test for date rape drugs. Punishing a victim by naming them, and force them to relive their ordeal? They have suffered enough. Their choice was already taken away from them once. Don’t do it again. They deserve choice.

      Perpetrators names need to be public. Keeping quite the names of perpetrators is how the Catholic Church ended up transferring priests who continued to harm people in other jurisdictions, who had no idea there were a series of allegations against said priests. If you think waiting for someone to be found guilty in a court of law for their name to be public is better, consider that the Department of Justice believes less than 5% of rapists will go to jail (you can read more at RAINN, along with many other sources). It is incredibly difficult to prosecute in many circumstances, and victims often do not come forward quickly, or often at all, due to the severe backlash against them, and very often the undeserved shame they feel, along with many other variables. It is also perfectly reasonable that the burden of proof be higher for someone possibly going to jail for the rest of the their life, than for someone to be fired, exposed etc.

      The Catholic Church chose often not to name priests who weren’t found guilty in court, even if there were serious allegations of sexual assault. They instead removed them from the places where the allegations of assault took place and moved them around. Their new parish members had no idea. We see the devastating consequences of such a poor decision. Those people went on to be able to continue their crimes for years.

      Multiple women have accused [redacted] of sexual assault on separate occasions. He was arrested for violating a restraining order. [redacted]’s name was not published in this until after a long investigation went through, which looks to have determined his conduct deserved firing. There are many other stories possibly many victims we don’t know about. It would seem we are far past the point in our society of needing to protect the identities of powerful people with multiple allegations of assault, just because they hadn’t been put in prison. Society tried that for generations. It led to rampant sexual assault and abuse.

      Were your daughter or sister going on tour with someone under such circumstances, you would almost certainly think that information important to know. Would you let your kid go on a field trip with a teacher who had multiple allegations of sexual assault? Would you think you deserved to know? Should the school cover it up? That’s dumb, and dangerous.

      (Not responsible for typos/errors)

      • Anonitoni says:

        Let me preface my remarks by saying I do not have any other dog in this fight than truth and justice. It is my understanding that the evidence of violation of the restraining order was a photo of the alleged victim and Muckey in close proximity to one another. The version I heard was that Muckey was not even aware they were near each other, and that he was basically ambushed while getting an instrument out of a trunk by this woman and the photographer, who was the trombonist that also did not get tenure. My guess is that episode may have played some part in that decision. I’m no friend of Matt’s, but your interjection of the restraining order may not tell the entire story.

        • John Doe says:

          Clearly, you are hearing this information from someone in the Phil who cared about Muckey and not the victim. Since I too have insider knowledge, I will use it to counter your claims. When the restraining order began, Muckey [redacted] didn’t even attempt to follow it. He clearly gave it no thought, and so from what I’ve heard, it was documented how he wasn’t even trying to abide by it.

          The little story you heard clearly was made up to make Muckey look the victim. [redacted] It’s high time we listen to victims of sexual assault, whether they are male or female. Why would anyone lie about being raped??? Come on!

          Also, if it’s true that the Phil fired someone in retaliation for protecting a sexual assault victim, they have some explaining to do. That sounds like a lawsuit waiting to happen.

          • norman lebrecht says:

            John Doe, you are attempting to publish serious libels for which you provide no evidence. We have redacted the gravest of your comments.

          • Anonitoni says:

            Um, I never suggested she lied about being raped. Regarding the restraining order – we are both hearing second-hand information, and neither knows the veracity of these stories. Did Muckey try to abide by it? I don’t know, and I doubt that you do, either. Each of our sources undoubtedly has their own spin. All I am saying is I heard this version, and I thought it needed to be considered when someone else is saying Muckey violated the order.

            A musician on probation (which all new musician go through) can be fired for almost any reason. It is commendable that the trombonist wanted to support her friend, as I’m sure the situation was very frustrating. However, if my version is true, she painted a big target on her back by partipating in this staged photo. It would have been faking evidence to get another colleague arrested. That is something you can be terminated for – a huge red flag when considering whether or not you want this individual in the band for the next 30-40 years. If true, it was juvenile and unprofessional, REGARDLESS of whether Muckey is guilty.

            I want to reiterate that I am not a fan of either of the two gentleman. If evidence proves these claims to be true, then discipline should not be limited to termination, so please do not misconstrue this as me defending their behavior.

          • SATSAM says:

            Anonitoni you give yourself as way when you say “If evidence proves these allegations are true…”

            There was a 5 month investigation. He was fired. There are multiple accusers. Brass. Strings. Do the math.

            You are obviously just a friend of Muckey’s. What you are saying is totally false. People there saw him violate it all the time. Probably because he knew he had friends like you/your friend who didn’t take it seriously. And then the one time someone takes a photo, you get mad.

            Absolute bull crap.

            Stop victim blaming and excusing Muckey’s behavior. That is what your doing. You can’t hide behind a vail of “I’m not his friend but I’m going to blame the victim.”

          • Anonitoni says:

            I knew when I typed it that histrionics would get in the way, and you would completely misrepresent my intentions. If you knew me, you’d know I am not a friend of Matt’s, lol. Personally, I believe something happened. However, if the restraing order incident is true, than she made a tactical error. Even if every other thing she said is true, staging evidence casts doubt on all of it, and that’s what a lawyer would go after.

          • Anonitoni says:

            I will add here that the only incident I’m aware of is the Vail thing, and my comments are only relevant to that. If Muckey has done something since that time, then he is not only a serial threat but incredibly stupid.

          • SATSAM says:

            The nonsense in your posts amazing. At the very least, your willingness to attack in these circumstances shows little to no empathy for alleged victims. Awful.

            You say you “believe something happened,” but you think the alleged victim perhaps made a “tactical error.” That you would so aggressively attack one of the alleged victims at the same time is gross, and seems practically the definition of victim blaming. (Your story is also untrue).

            Secondary victimization. You should look it up. Almost all victims of sexual assault go through it. Secondary victimization is “…the re-traumatization of the sexual assault, abuse, or rape victim through the responses of individuals and institutions.”

            It is one of the reasons why large majorities of assault victims keep quiet.

            And it is not lost on anyone that you were happy to attack one of the alleged victims, and were previously silent on Muckey, despite the fact that you clearly have heard some of these incidences and that, as you say, you “believe something happened.” Previous silence on the alleged perpetrator. Attack on one of the alleged victims. Got it.

            It is hard to believe unless you are a close friend or backer of Muckey. Whether or not that is the case, it shows you have a willingness to harm alleged victims, who have serious, credible claims, which you claim to at least partially believe. You should rethink that. No good excuse for it. Certainly none that you have outlined.

            It is still shocking to many to see such willingness, though perhaps it should not be. In our society, sadly most victims are practically always blamed by various people in one way or another. Though many try to rationalize their victim blaming as we see.

            It is easily seen through though.

            By the way…the clarification from the Philharmonic in the new article on slipped disc: “…it relates to a number of incidents over a considerable period.”

            Think about that. Think about the potential victims behind the potentially numerous “incidents” mentioned by the Philharmonic. Think about the months long investigation into these alleged “incidents” that went forward prior to actions being taken, and the conclusion of that investigation. Think about what victims go through before you try to squeeze yourself into a pretzel to reason your way into shaming someone who has likely been through hell.

            Victim blaming needs to end.

            “…a number of incidents over a considerable period.”

          • NY10023 says:

            ANONITONI:

            Your story is false. A photo was, in point of fact, not the reason he was arrested. He could be fairly blatant about breaking the restraining order. Particularly as he found a pair of colleagues who seemed not to think he should have to take it seriously, and who incredibly thought the alleged victim was just as responsible as he was. There were people who remember him walk out practically right behind on her on so many occasions they couldn’t keep count, when he was required to stay much farther away. He was brazen.

            It sounds likely that your “friend” was one of these couple of apologists. Attitudes such as those are the reasons victims often stay silent, and stories are kept hushed.

            The Colorado incident to which you refer is not the first in the timeline of alleged accusers. It is possible that had the earlier accuser’s story been more well known at the time, that the Colorado incident would not have happened in the first place. But the first accuser felt reluctant to say anything to more than one or two people initially for a variety of reasons. I believe she likely knew she would encounter attitudes such as your friends. And people such as yourself who would be willing to drag a potential victim through more pain.

          • Anonitoni says:

            Well, I guess you told me. :-/

          • Anonitoni says:

            Just a couple of thoughts and I’ll move on. You could very well be right – I’m completely willing to consider that. I’m going off my sources, you’re going off of yours. It was my understanding that the picture that got him busted was staged. I can’t confirm that, but I’m not sure you can confirm that it wasn’t. It is curious that no further legal action came of it – he was released. The only reason I weighed in on this is because someone repeatedly brought the restraining order violation up with zero explanation. Among peer musicians, my version is the one that we are hearing – several colleagues whom I asked have confirmed this. It was also my understanding that the orchestra generally backed Matt, at least at the time. I got the impression it was much more than “a couple apologists”. Again, this is not first-hand information, but neither is yours. In any event, I’m sure if you polled them now, you would get a very different response.

            Your rant against me is completely off-base. You could not be more wrong, particularly your last paragraph. You do not know who I am, nor do you know my belief system or where I stand on any of these issues. You are explosively reactionary, and your over-the-top combative nature would drive any reasonable ally away. Yeah, I know – like you want me in your corner, but I digress… I have encountered folks like you that are more interested in staging knock-down, drag-out fights than engaging in civilized discussions that might actually be effective at furthering your cause. It’s attack, attack, attack. Outside of this response, I will not engage you further – go fight your windmills.

          • SATSAM says:

            Let it go. It is clear you are a Muckey person. You kept trying to pretend you weren’t…even saying you “believe something happened” but after your latest rant, you are out in the open. At the very minimum, you show no empathy for an alleged victim of sexual assault.

            You’re mad at being called out? You think you should be nicely reasoned with to stop attacking an alleged victim? All this after learning about a, “…series of incidents over a long period of time.” One of which you say you at least partially believe.

            I don’t know your belief systems, but That is not ok. Victims go through enough.

            William Osborne had one of the most important sentiments here.
            “We cannot let friendship and collegiality blind us to sexual violence against people, nor can we allow it to create bias in seeing that violence for what it is. (Something I sense even in the discussion here.)”

            Osborne is right.

            “Series of incidents over a long period of time.“

            Please try to think more of the alleged victims the statement speaks about. Put yourself, or your daughter, or your sister or wife, in their shoes. It would seem to me they are the ones you should be fighting for.

  • TiredofBeethoven9 says:

    I would encourage William Osborne to delete his posts. The only person or persons who has business posting about what happened are the persons involved- and it’s highly unlikely that will happen due to legal reasons. Other than that, EVERYTHING is hearsay. Yes, the orchestra world is rife with gossip and probably everyone has heard inklings (or more) of this story. But I ask Mr Osborne to reconsider posting stories he heard through his wife to a public board.

    Lest anyone think otherwise, I am saying this from the point of view of a victim rather than a perpetrator. A victim’s story is a victim’s story, and no one else’s. And were I the particular person who passed information on to Mr Osborne’s wife, and then I saw him regurgitating somewhat convoluted info here, I definitely would reconsider ever telling his wife anything again.

    I understand that Mr Osborne comes from a place of standing in solidarity against misogyny. But I caution that co-opting a woman’s story is another form of minimizing her voice.

    • william osborne says:

      I have fairly close connections to one of the victims. She has not objected at all. I suspect the above post is someone posing.

      • Tiredofbeethoven9 says:

        Not posing, I assure you. Just shocked when posters start guessing names of victims, and frustrated that pieces of stories are being thrown about leading to people guessing who and where and why. Absolutely name Muckey and Wang. But I caution about revealing partial details of a story that lead to revelations of the victims’ identities, especially when there are multiple instances. Let the women reveal themselves only if they wish. Please let it be their choices and their voices. The orchestra world is so small.

    • NY10023 says:

      TIREDOFBEETHOVEN9

      I respectfully disagree here. Williams posts are most important I believe.

      As to your statement that the victims wouldn’t want anything said. They would want their names kept out, and wouldn’t want the stories told explicitly. But I believe they would certainly want people to know something, lest other women potentially be in danger.

      At least one accuser of Matthew Muckey was (allegedly) assaulted AFTER another accuser had come forward to someone. But the information was not well known. It was kept quiet.

      In the past keeping things quiet, and the names of perpetrators hushed in public, lead to one thing: Rampant, continued sexual abuse. That was the status quo for decades, and is one reason why so many victims felt they could not come forward. It was one way that powerful people have preyed on the weak for generations. They trusted that the victims wouldn’t come forward, and if they did, that it would be kept quite.

      • Tiredofbeethoven9 says:

        “They would want their names kept out, and wouldn’t want the stories told explicitly”
        That’s what I was trying to say – what I’m cautioning against are these explicit details that let people google potential victims’ names. I completely agree that naming the perpetrators is absolutely necessary.

  • Frank says:

    Let me say this. I do not know or can’t confirm that these 2 musicians are guilty. What I can tell you is, I have personally witnessed sexual
    Misconduct and unacceptable behaviour from many classical musicians in major orchestras. I have seen it at the music academy of the west, I have seen it in New York and other parts of the country, what seems to be consistent in almost every incident? Rich, entitled, narcissistic musician who is praised and worshipped like a god, doing whatever they please with zero consequence because the victim is too ashamed to come forward and the admin in these organizations do absolutely nothing when they are notified.

  • Enquiring mind wants to know says:

    Nothing has been said here about the oboist. Any ideas what got him fired?

    • SATSAM says:

      It was said Wang was involved in at least one of the incidences with Muckey. They were close at one point. There were stories on the oboe facebook page, but there are more brass people on this board I believe, thus more information on Muckey.

  • Jasper says:

    Both NYMUSICIAN and NY10023 has asserted that [redacted] was arrested for violating a restraining order. Please provide a link to support this assertion. Such an arrest would be in the public record.

    Jasper

    • Jasper says:

      If the identity of [unnamed musician] was redacted in my latest post, then it also should be redacted in the prior posts of NYMUSICIAN and NY10023, to which my latest post made reference.

      Jasper

  • Wai kit leung says:

    I do not know Wang personally, but one of my ex-girlfriends had a friend who dated him. I don’t think they went far though. It is a tremendous personal loss for him to lose a job with such prestige and renumeration, but he has only himself to blame if he commit a serious misconduct.

    Obviously there is now an opening. What is the hiring policy of the NYPO? Does the music director get involved? Are we likely to see an European player filling the spot?

    • Bill says:

      As with all positions in major symphony orchestras, there will be an audition called at some point to fill the position. In the interim, the NY Phil has a more than capable associate principal to fill in.

  • Harold Emert says:

    From the viewpoint of someone residing and making music In Latin America, the destruction of an Artistic career based on allegations of sexual misconduct ages ago is extremely unfair.Neither of the fine musicians sacked has been arrested by the police.When Any Orchestra goes on tour all kinds of ‘misdeeds’ are bound to Happen due the need to blow off steam. But we are speaking about a society where geniuses are often punished with ostracism: a Woody Allen film cant be released In the US despite the fact that the writer-director has never been found guilty,etc…LBernstein would probably be behind bars today–and not musical bars.Soon all Will be forgotten and two musicalcareers destroyed!

    • SATSAM says:

      Harold, The burden of proof for sending a person to jail for maybe the rest of their life and the burden of proof for firing someone are different. As they definitely should be.

      The world you paint where potential assault or harassment on tour should go unpunished because “misdeeds are bound to happen due to the need to blow off steam” is truly terrifying.

      And your right that times are changing and that “geniuses” actions towards others now matter hopefully more than they once did. Its scary to realize there are still people who believe talented people should be able to do whatever they want to whoever.

      There are oceans of victims whose lives were ruined because geniuses/talented people/powerful people were able to do as they pleased, and were protected, as we have definitely seen.

      Thankfully thats changing.

    • Disappointed. says:

      You think this way because of where you live. It’s disgusting how men get away with treating women in Latin America. I have the experience of living there. Not as bad as Iran of course but bad enough. So yeah just because your use to people getting away with stuff etc doesn’t make it RIGHT!!

  • Harold Emert says:

    Satsam: who are these ” oceans of victims whose lives were ruined by geniuses doing as they pleased?” Thisweek Mrs. Woody Allen reveals that it was her mother( by adoption) Mia Farrow and not husband Mr.Allen who abused her.In a tell all book released this year a sibling of Maestro LBernstein reveals that ‘Dadry kissed his daughters on the mouth and showed his intimate parts’ and yet she , her sister and brother are perpetuating the name of Daddy.Have you been in orchestras in various parts of the world as I have and observed what goes on during tours?

  • Enquiring mind wants to know says:

    It might be worth noting that the attorneys for both musicians slightly different comments:

    “…an attorney representing Mr. Wang, said… “Mr. Wang is extremely disappointed in the Philharmonic’s decision and emphatically denies that he engaged in any misconduct.”

    “…a lawyer for Mr. Muckey, said that “Mr. Muckey has not engaged in any misconduct, and there is no legitimate basis by the New York Philharmonic to terminate him.”

    I would guess that the second act is yet to come.

  • Harold Emert says:

    This Latin from Manhattan oboist working and living in Rio de Janeiro four decades in local orchestras is surprised that with all that is going on in Usa with gropers Mr.Trump, Mr .Weinstein and top tv producers etc abusing women Dispointed would generalize about the behavior of Latin American men.Here at least in Rio where couples embrace, hold hands and kiss on the streets, or on metro as well as beaches, i see a more harmonious relationship between the sexes than i know in many other places in the world.But Rio de Janeiro is not exactly all of Latin America…awaiting further proof which justifies the dismiSsal if these two young musicians.

  • Musician says:

    In other news: Bill Cosby Sentenced to 3 to 10 Years in Prison https://nyti.ms/2N15fMp

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