Sex and money troubles simmer at the Boston Phil

Sex and money troubles simmer at the Boston Phil


norman lebrecht

November 05, 2018

The Boston Globe is running a major investigation into the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, where two of the conductors close advisers have been fired after sexual charges came to light and a third employee is ‘under investigation for inappropriate behaviour.’

And questions are being asked about the financing, some of which appears to come from the conductor, Benjamin Zander, and his ex-wife’s partner.

Read on here.


  • Having a youth orchestra that spans 12-year-olds through college-age players seems like asking for trouble in itself.

    But I’m doubtful about the scandal potential of the funding mechanism. The financial audit revealed…

    “If a significant reduction in the level of [donor] funding should occur, it may have a significant effect on the orchestra’s programs…”

    No kidding, huh? An arts org is extremely dependent on donor funding. Who knew?

  • MacroV says:

    I couldn’t access the article, but it’s no secret that Ben Zander has often helped finance activities (notably tours) of the Boston Phil Youth Orchestra and before that the NEC Youth Philharmonic. He’s a well-paid corporate speaker (probably makes a lot more there than as a conductor) and in the past has contributed fees to the cause.

  • Stacey says:

    The funding is problematic for 2 reasons. If it’s not diversified, the organization is not sustainable. Secondly and more importantly, the nature of the scholarships is truly bizarre and creepy. They are given under the table, without any clear process or paperwork. This can lead to a very weird power dynamic and make it harder for the recipients to speak out about misconduct. For all organizations, but especially youth organizations, there should be very clear misconduct and whistle-blowing policies, as well as background checks when hiring. That is standard practice, and at best, this is gross negligence on Zander and BPO’s part.