When Curtis was known as the Coitus Institute

When Curtis was known as the Coitus Institute


norman lebrecht

July 25, 2019

In today’s article about allegations of sexual abuse at the Curtis Institute, the Philadelphia Inquirer references an article that appeared on Slipped Disc six years ago at its former hosting site, a post which is now inaccessible. Happily, the text endures.

The article, by long-serving Curtis Dean Robert Fitzpatrick, was titled ‘When Curtis was known as the Coitus Institute’. The headline was mine, not the Dean’s, but the text is his and it remains as insightful and important as it was the day it was written.

Lara St John says it was the sight of this article that prompted her to take action over alleged abuse by her teacher.

The full text follows below.


A betrayal of trust: imitation is not always the sincerest form of flattery…

by Robert Fitzpatrick


It is a generally accepted fact that adults guilty of abusing those in their charge were very often the victims of such abuse from their own parents, siblings, teachers or even peers during their formative years. Psychological, physical, and sexual abuse, all have the same goal: the control over another person unable or unwilling to resist the onslaught of the person in power. Where and when did this sinister trend begin in music conservatories?

In my opinion, this longstanding tradition of abuse of students goes back, at least in part, to the establishment of the important European conservatories, most of which were founded in the 19th century or very late 18th (Paris opened in 1796). Possibly the most “European” of them was the St. Petersburg Conservatory, especially toward the end of the 19th century when the likes of Leopold Auer were guiding the destiny of some of the greatest violin talents that our profession has ever seen. His list of students reads like a Who’s Who of the violin world in the 20th century with Heifetz and Elman leading the charge. Psychological torture was often the byword there, especially during Auer’s lessons which were always public master classes performed from memory with a pianist. Other teachers of this era in St. Petersburg included Isabelle Vengerova (aka “Madame”) who taught Leonard Bernstein, Lukas Foss, Samuel Barber, and scores of others after she moved to America. Not the least among her students was Gary Graffman, who reports the following in his 1981 biography “I Really Should Be Practicing” concerning his lessons with Madame starting at age 7:
…but I was never particularly bothered by the Vengerovian storms that raged during my lessons. They were just a fact of life. After violent, dramatic scenes during which she sometimes picked up a chair and slammed it down on the floor to emphasize her displeasure, she would announce to my parents that there was no hope for me in any field of endeavor whatsoever. I think that what bothered her most was my imperturbability. “He does not listen, he will not listen. Whatever I tell him, however I tell him…kak sgoosi voda! Like water off a goose’s back!” she would scream into the phone to my mother so penetratingly that her voice was as clear as if it were originating in our own apartment.

I propose the following theory: students who were terrorized and/or abused by those in authority either imitate their abuser when they become adults and begin to teach, or, like Gary Graffman, take a totally opposite approach and become nurturing pedagogues in reaction to the horrors of their early musical experiences. It was Gary Graffman’s imperturbability and his understanding of the Russian ethic which saved him in this survival-of-the-fittest atmosphere. (NB: Graffman’s father, Vladimir, was Leopold Auer’s teaching assistant.) Leonard Bernstein, already 21 and a Harvard grad when he arrived at Curtis, studied with Madame Vengerova and seems to have survived the ordeal. (Please read the speech to the Curtis 50th Anniversary convocation in 1975 in his book “Findings” which recounts Bernstein’s bittersweet memories of his student days at Harvard and Curtis).

Physical abuse was also an occasional fact-of-life with the St. Petersburg generation that eventually found its way to America in the 1920s. Striking students or throwing things at them was a real, if infrequent, occurrence. Imagine the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia when it opened in October 1924 with Leopold Auer, Isabelle Vengerova, and for added exquisite terror, Carl Flesch on the faculty. Leopold Auer also served on the Juilliard School faculty in the late 1920s, exporting his brand of violinistic psychological warfare to New York City.
Female conservatory students were very rare in those days and the chauvinist male teachers, almost all products of the Euro-conservatory system, sometimes carried their aggressive educational strategies further to include sexual intimidation and worse toward their female pupils. It’s no accident that after Curtis (nicknamed “Coitus” by some in the 1930s) was open for a few years, the founder, Mary Louise Curtis Bok, insisted on small windows in the doors of all teaching studios, class rooms, and practice rooms. Mrs. Bok is said to have dismissed one senior faculty member and administrator (a name instantly recognizable to all) in the 1930s after his 15-year-old student became pregnant. According to a subset of my proposed theory, this tradition of the major private teacher as an omnipotent, infallible force capable of abuse was imported to the USA primarily by these St. Petersburg refugees.

Like the Catholic Church, music schools tended to sweep their dirty little secrets under the rug. Students were never willing to discuss the improper actions of their instructors because of fear of reprisal that could sink their career as a performer. In my opinion, the atmosphere began to change in the USA during World War II when a significant number of women were admitted to American conservatories to replace the young men called to battle (or at least to play in service ensembles), and then again during the Vietnam War era when there was a certain revolutionary spirit brewing in most institutions of higher education. But, as usual, music conservatories often lagged behind the changes in universities and colleges because of the “traditions” inherited from the “old school” with its roots in Europe, especially pre-revolutionary Russia.

The presumption is that sexual abuse in conservatories is instigated by dirty old men who have nubile female music students as their target. In fact, this power-play phenomenon knows no barriers of age, gender, or sexual orientation. The old stereotypes have given way to a more expanded model. What to do in the 21st Century to be sure that students, their teachers, and their supervisors understand the basic ground rules of a healthy teacher-student, student-teacher, student-student, and even teacher-teacher relationship in today’s wide-open and rapidly changing world? How did conservatories such as Curtis gradually deal with the societal changes that had engulfed them? The following elements are a possible list of suggestions for successfully avoiding and, when necessary, dealing with cases of psychological, physical, and sexual abuse based on common sense and personal experience after almost 30 years at a small conservatory of music in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (USA).

A Board of Trustees (Governors) that is paying attention to the actual educational, cultural, and social life of the institution is an obvious requirement. This group of men and women exist primarily to support the mission of the conservatory by appointing a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) who should be a musician or at least have a musical background, and who is charged with carrying out this mission. The Board also assumes total fiduciary responsibility for the school. From a U.S. Business Law and Taxes webpage: The term fiduciary refers to a relationship in which one person/group has a responsibility of care for the assets or rights of another person/group. (The term “fiduciary” is derived from the Latin term for “faith” or “trust”). This charge of faith and trust goes much further than simple financial matters. Trustees or Governors have the ultimate legal and moral responsibility for the school and can be held personally liable for transgressions. In the USA, all post-secondary institutions carry personal liability insurance for their Boards. In the case of large financial settlements resulting from lawsuits, the endowment and/or government support of the school could also be at risk. A Board of the highest ethical and moral standards is the sine qua non of educational institutions. The best music conservatories are those that have this solid and irreproachable foundation.
The Administration of a conservatory is hired by the CEO to carry out the mission and his or her personal vision for the institution in relation to the mission. There is usually a chief academic officer or dean to whom the entire educational apparatus reports. Conservatories vary in their actual administrative structure, but every leading school has a staff of professionals in the area of student services. In a conservatory, the emotional, psychological, and physical health of the students is of paramount concern. A resident or readily available psychologist, with access to psychiatric services with appropriate medical support, is absolutely required in today’s society. Musicians also need access to physical therapists and physicians who understand how to treat the injuries that often occur because of over-use and stress to the body by eager, aspiring professional musicians. Because prevention is worth a pound of cure, conservatories have the responsibility to inform students about proper practice procedures and audition preparation. Open discussions with counselors and visiting professionals regarding student health concerns including, but not limited to, drug use and abuse, sexual issues including harassment by adults and peers, and bullying with an accompanying discussion of suicide prevention.

The real lynchpin in any school is the Faculty; therefore the methodology of their selection must include complete research of the musical, educational, and legal history of each teacher. This is the responsibility of every search committee, the CEO, and ultimately the Board. The CEO and the chief academic administrator have the responsibility to monitor the progress of each new hire by working closely with department heads who should be visiting lessons, classes, and ensembles on a regular and sometimes unannounced basis. Faculty orientation and ongoing seminars for teachers should include the topics mentioned in the last sentence of the previous paragraph.
Parents of conservatory students are a topic worthy of a separate discussion but their role in support of their child or children in the school is critical. The conservatory must clearly define that role and set limits in order to allow a parent to become a partner in the musical education of their child and not and impediment to it.

Talented music students form a group at each school which is the ultimate raison d’être. The teachers have the obligation to identify the candidates with the greatest chance of success as a result of musical talent and personality suited to the difficult life of a professional performing musician. The administrators have the obligation to ensure the health and safety of the students as they pursue success in their field. The Board must be constantly vigilant for negligence or abuse on the part of the personnel from the CEO, the administration, the faculty, down to every employee who deals in any way with the young musician. I know of an example concerning a 17 year old female string player at a conservatory who complained to an administrator about the overly aggressive kisses and hugs of an elderly teacher at the end of each session, often in front of the student waiting for the next lesson. The result was that two senior administrators spoke to the teacher (one speaking, the other as a witness) and requested that the behavior cease because of possible misunderstanding by the student(s) and the danger of legal action if the parents of the student(s) took that approach to protect their child. I was told that the actions stopped from that time forward. The teacher was someone who was educated abroad in the great “Euro-Russian” tradition mentioned earlier.

A vital and active Alumni group is essential for providing professional, moral, and financial support to the conservatory. Students should have the opportunity to meet with graduates especially in their chosen field. The methods vary greatly from one school to another, but the goal is always to create a helpful, interested group of alums who are a vital resource to the future of the institution.

I write this paper to offer a checklist for others especially those who are administrators and teachers at troubled schools around the world. The school where I worked has made a lot of progress since the “coitus” (aka Curtis) days, and today has all of the above elements in place. There have been many success stories and, unfortunately, a few failures along the way. A great school learns to deal with both. Our reward is always to see and hear our former students leading happy and productive lives on the world’s stages and eventually in studios at conservatories teaching their successors. As I type these final words, a well-known tenor from Peru in his early 40s is singing a bit of Rossini on the radio. Knowing that I helped to provide a safe environment where his international career could blossom is the best reward.
[Caveat lector: every situation involving abuse is different depending on the individuals involved, the culture of the school, the laws of the city, state, or country, and the general moral climate of the moment. The basis of comparison here is a private music conservatory in the USA which functions primarily at the tertiary level but with a handful of younger students between 12 and 16 years of age. The greatest difficulties, in my opinion, occur in the secondary, residential performing arts specialist schools of which I know two in the USA: Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan and Idyllwild Arts Academy in California and I do not personally know of unresolved issues involving abuse at either institution. The current cases in the UK at music specialist residential schools and at tertiary level colleges involve incidents that occurred mainly in the later part of the 20th century which are just now becoming public knowledge. I assume (and hope) that the current climate at these music schools has evolved according to the issues discussed above.]
Robert Fitzpatrick, dean, the Curtis Institute of Music (1986-2009).


  • Malcolm Kottler says:

    Norman writes: “Lara St John says it was the sight of this article that prompted her to take action over alleged abuse by her teacher.”

    That is an understatement. You need to read today’s Philadelphia Inquirer story to see how outraged Lara St. John was by this piece by Robert Fitzpatrick.

    Just one short excerpt from the Philadelphia Inquirer story:

    St. John said she “saw red.”

    “The injustice just came roaring back,” she said. “And there he [Robert Fitzpatrick] is, living the high life in Paris, making himself out to be like this savior of students.”

    • Sixtus Beckmesser says:

      My sister studied with Brodsky in the ’70s, not at Curtis but at the New School. It did not end well for her.

  • Ricardo says:

    Wow. Just as well I did not get into Curtis 😀

    • The View from America says:

      Assuming you’re a guy, you might have been spared.

      Just maybe …

      • John Eight Thirty-Two says:

        Wow, what a naive comment! Being male only means he would have a different set of abusers (though some perps could have been in both sets).

  • Rgiarola says:

    I bet my whole assets that the headlines was created by Lebrecht, indeed! It has his DNA signature.
    Let me try to be as good as he is. If we consider the close connection of S. Barber with Curtis, perhaps “School of Scandals” was composed with the institute in mind.
    Lolol…kind of Nero comment. It is like putting fire in Rome again lolol

  • Robert Freeman says:

    The problem here discussed goes back well into the 18th century at the very least, and involves men taking unfair advantage young women as well as older women taking unfair advantage of younger men. The gay and lesbian populations can be involved as well; and musical instruction is not the only area where this sort of thing can become a problem.

    In my days as Eastman School director I appointed a faculty committee to study the problem. They wrote a reasoned paper that recommended the discharging of faculty or staff members who violated the trust we all hold as teachers and mentors of the young (and vulnerable). The paper came to a vote in two successive meetings of the Eastman faculty and was unanimously approved. It resulted in my having to ask for the resignation of an otherwise well respected member of the faculty whose career as a teacher was ended as a result. Later, as dean of the College of Arts at the University of Texas at Austin, I brought it about that the music faculty at Austin also voted to warn all faculty and staff members of violating the trust of a student in this fashion. One must, of course, be certain in every case that the complaining student is telling the truth, for I have also seen it happen that a student may be capable of making up an incident that never occurred.

    It is very important in my view that parents and students looking for a music school should investigate beforehand whether the institution has clearly articulated and well understood policies on such matters.

    • Mary says:

      A family member of mine was at Eastman during the 1980s and has quite a Me Too story from that time, a very upsetting one. And neither this relative nor the Eastman faculty member who sexually harassed her were string players. I wonder just how effective your committee was if it only found one offender. “One must be very certain…that the complaining student is telling the truth.” Yes, that attitude is very likely why my family member and others never said anything. They had reason to think they would not be believed.

  • Debussy says:

    as with all allegations each side should be heard before drawing to any conclusions, especially when the accused, Prof. Brodsky is not among us to defend himself.

    • Greg Bottini says:

      I would respectfully ask you to stop using the nom de plume “Debussy”.
      You do this great composer no honor.

  • Jack says:

    “Coitus Institute” isn’t original with you, Norman. It was the name the place was given when Stokowski was there and chasing his female orchestra students around his studio. I saw it referenced in one of my books decades ago and have talked about it since then.

    • Helen M says:

      As well as the obvious plagiarism, the term ‘coitus’ suggests that any activities going on were consensual – which is just not the case.

    • Bruce says:

      NL doesn’t claim that it is. It’s actually from the article by Fitzpatrick that you didn’t read:

      “…after Curtis (nicknamed “Coitus” by some in the 1930s) was open for a few years…”

  • Ludwig's Van says:

    In the1979 biography “Leopold Stokowski: A Profile” the author Abram Chasins made liberal use of the moniker “Coitus Institute” as Stoki and other faculty members were apparently sampling the goods amongst the female student as far back as the 1920’s and 1930’s (Chasins was on the Curtis faculty at that time). Ormandy was also known to pursue female students: A fine female pianist known during the 1950’s performed with Ormandy & the Philadelphia Orchestra, and after the concert Ormandy instructed her to meet him at a hotel. She didn’t – and by 1960 her career was over with.

  • Nijinsky says:

    “ In a conservatory, the emotional, psychological, and physical health of the students is of paramount concern. A resident or readily available psychologist, with access to psychiatric services with appropriate medical support, is absolutely required in today’s society. “

    Why is that, because would someone respond in a normal way to trauma that’s not believed by “the authorities,” that they can then deem them paranoid, or make them paranoid by not listening, and then dope them up with psychiatric disabling “medications”!?

    Is the current spike in psychiatric illnesses correlating with medical “support” not enough yet?

    To jump from psychology to the “science” that if it got its hands on Handel would have blessed us with his Hallelujah chorus on Lithium or the newer bi-polar medications which have been hit with last I heard 5 billion dollars in fines for withholding the evidence of side effects.

    You can research it yourself (Robert Whitaker, Joanna Moncrief), that psychiatric illnesses come from a chemical imbalance is alleged, that psychiatric medications cause chemical imbalance is a proven fact, as well as correlating with a spike in what is seen as such diseases after being implemented, to then cause such alarm and paranoia that people think there needs to be more of what correlated with the increase. Dopamine antagonists cause the over production of dopamine, that’s a proven fact, that psychiatric illnesses cause the same effect (which it’s attributed to) has yet to be proven; same with serotonin, that when the re-uptake is inhibited the body stops producing as much causing serotonin sluggishness (again attributed to the disease instead); while tests show no real correlation with serotonin and depression before “medications,” as it can be lower or higher. ADHD medications inhibit dopamine reuptake for part of the day, then when they wear off you have the sluggishness again, and indeed one in 20 on ADHD medications later gets another diagnosis such as bipolar (“bipolar” which used to be one in the 2,000 to 3,000 and now is one in 20 or 30); same with anti-depressants and anti-anxiety drugs correlating with more diagnosis later on. But heh, you disable natural workings of the brain and you get a reduction of “symptoms,” for an interim, before you get the whole spike in disability, side effects, withdrawal symptoms and extreme addictions to psychiatric drugs, loss of life, paranoia against normal responses to trauma, inability to understand normal responses to trauma, extreme social phobia to anyone expressing normal responses to trauma…and the spike in violence also correlates with psychiatric drugging.

    And the thing is, that when someone is listened to, when they can express their trauma, then not only does it relieve them and inform people, but it also starts to unlock what trauma is, and how it doesn’t work as a societal disciplinarian tool, and then you start seeing what went on in the lives of those who are the perpetrators, and how to change that and create a working society. But drugging up the people who have experienced trauma that needs to be acknowledged and investigated, or drugging the people that just can’t deal with such a society and break its boundaries quite non violently no matter how annoying they can be, this isn’t creating a working society. And it’s destroying the buffer zone that would point out what’s going on in society that needs attention.

    That someone that’s the head of one of America’s “greatest” music schools would proffer yet to be proven cures correlating with a spike in what they are said to cure; that just about every great artist, fortunately dead, according to them should have been inflicted with; and “cures” that murdered Josef Hassid along with a whole list of others…..

    no thank you

    What’s helped me the most might be Emily Dickinson, who also probably living in this time, given her father’s extreme conservative tendencies, would have been drugged so that her whole output would be missing; and then other crazy things like the Healer Gene Egidio that the Catholic Church put in an asylum as a five year old boy because they thought he had been given special gifts by the Devil (to say Beelzebub would have been to revealing of their mentality), or a heretical book called A Course in Miracles put down by a women who before that was militantly atheistic, highly competitive till she thought she might be going crazy and heard the voice that dictated the book; or Del Gesu, Stradivari, William Shakespeare, The whole breadth of literature from the Bronte Sisters and Dickens to Virginia Woolf, Allende, Kingsolver, Walker, Atwood and even J K Rowling and someone named Norman; along with the whole breadth of music that’s survived showing the beauty left in life (and even what’s left over when we thought we were suffering); and the same left in the Museums…

    Why for some idea of goodness this is all supposed to be drugged into a disabled state…

    And flowers…

      • Nijinsky says:

        Sigh (this isn’t supposed to be a blog about psychiatry, but before I go back to the topic), Last I heard David Healy does share the dangers of psychiatric drugs, but he also tries to promote shock therapy.

        Here is an article about shock therapy

        Here is an url for Whitaker

        One for Moncrieff

        Also this isn’t really a blog about the dangers of psychiatry, I just wanted to point out what actually correlates with healing trauma and promotes mental well being, and psychiatric drugs don’t really correlate with that, other than an interim period where they suppress symptoms by interfering with natural brain functions, while after than interim you get more relapsing, and the rest of what I already listed. So, I really don’t think that every educational institution, and certainly not one for the arts, for it be be responsible is required to have connections with “medical” treatments that in reality correlate with a spike of what they are said to be treating. And THAT coming from a man who allegedly did not listen to a student that was being abused, and friends of that student corroborate that he didn’t listen; added to this the wife of another head of the same Institution asked her to keep quiet, and then the first response of the institution to all alumni is to keep quiet. Psychiatric drugs disable expression, the same as telling someone to keep quiet. And I’m not trying to make anyone feel bad about themselves that are on psychiatric drugs, just trying to share something that might help, and that is about music.

        I was trying to promote art itself as a healing agent. That in contrast to psychiatry saying that just about every great artist had some sort of psychiatric illness they say needs treatment, and thus they say they can treat a whole hoard of people, many or most of who weren’t understood during their time, and WOULD HAVE been seen as crazy and in need of adapting to what would have prevented their art from having the impact it still does, in contrast to those deeming them crazy back then for whatever fashion.

        To me it’s really contrast, in a way. The whole enigma of Mozart, too often quoted, as if his music was supposed to be something else than it was, because of what was seen as his life’s difficulties, and thus his music was supposed to.. I don’t know what…be something else than music. Something that gives you emotional support is supposed to be filled with emotions that see the negative part of life?

        And when someone is allowed to express trauma, is allowed to uninhibitedly express their life, to NOT have to worry about what others will think, to NOT have shame, then this creates a whole other space for change to take place. Horton Miles, an incredible man that had a school of thought that Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks both were schooled in, he simply had people sit in a circle and talk about their lives, and then they would find answers. That’s VERY different from: my-life-was-supposed-to-have-been-or-is-supposed-to-be-so-I’ll-edit-anything-not-in-sync-with-that-because-then-it’s-like-it-should-have-been. And as I already said, when you start exposing what trauma does, you see how it effected others as well, that includes the perpetrators, and you can change society. But then that’s supposedly too positive, just like Mozart’s music. And yet it heals when it’s not supposed to. Which is what I think art is.

    • Nijinsky says:

      When someone has a job they are accustomed to, and yet their subconscious is trying to express that it’s not really what they think, and this comes out in sadness; to suppress that sadness chemically rather than giving it room to express itself spinning out the reason it exists, this is interfering with personal growth, and a person making a choice to perhaps get another job, or expose working situations that need to be attended to, or even to simply realize what’s causing their sadness to let go of it and not let it get to them, or whatever they do. To suppress that is very akin to someone who is being sexually abused and can’t express it, or it is the same, which we see here again.

      I really would urge people to look into what’s going on with psychiatric drugs beyond the assumption that they are treating a chemical imbalance or a biological flaw. That they disable the mind is a given, alcohol does that, sugar does that, nicotine and caffeine do that in ways, street drugs do that; and I actually think that street drugs should be legal, but I don’t think they should be advertised as treating a chemical imbalance (which most of them used to be advertised as 50 or a bit more years ago, as mood enhancers of psychiatric drugs). I’ve already stated that there’s clear conclusive evidence (statistical, and scientific) showing that currently prescribed psychiatric drugs initially cause chemical imbalance and in the long run cause a spike in the occurrence of mental illnesses. This in contrast to the immense profits of the drug companies, and their promise of making headway unlocking the secrets of the brain while stating themselves that it’s a mystery they haven’t unlocked and in the meantime, along with stating they are making headway they clearly haven’t reached yet, are detailing alleged scientific cures that aren’t really treating chemical imbalances but when closely looked at are detailing how they disable natural brain functions causing chemical imbalance. They can’t really support their theories. They couldn’t in 2003 https://mindfreedom.org/mfi-taking-action/mf-hunger-strike/ and fail to to this day.

      And you may not like it that these drugs, after their initial period of suppressing symptoms, don’t work, regardless of whether suppressing symptoms that need to be given voice works, but that doesn’t change the truth.

      And getting off of psychiatric drugs can be and is as difficult as getting off of street drugs, being that both essentially mess around with neurotransmitters.

      One always has to advise that you need help, stating that it should be medical.


    • Another sufferer... says:

      You’re right that drugging toward “normalcy” would have reduced the output of the greats…

      But the greats were also capable of craftsmanship, self editing to perfection over years…

      No matter how manic his metronome markings, Beethoven was an iterative craftsman who BUILT perfection through editing.

      Try it sometime and your excellent ideas will find more willing to read to the end.

  • Luigi Nonono says:

    This is simply ridiculous. As Abram Chasins put it, if a student was offered relations by a master teacher, the student was considered to have been honored, not abused. And where is someone who practices and teaches sixty hours a week supposed to lead their social life? Get real. The teacher-student relationship is profoundly intimate and is a two-way street. Many a young woman married the teacher or conductor as a way to gain a career or social status, as well as for love. The love between teacher and student is also profound. When teachers have dramatic fits in order to make a point to a student, it is not abuse. It is also what makes the teachers legendary. To view the past through a neo-puritanical me-first lens of today is simply stupid. And the “coitus” nickname did not last, even if the behavior did. And, by the way, sexual relations are unparalleled for their ability to teach rhythm and climax. Most students benefit from it, if available. And it is rarely with fellow students.

    • Hildegardian says:

      He raped her.

    • Disgusted says:

      Regardless of my own personal opinions about all of this metoo stuff, I find this to be the most disturbing and disgusting comment I have ever read on this website…..

    • Eric Wright says:

      I sincerely hope law enforcement catches up with you someday.

    • Nijinsky says:

      How many ways does this excuse abuse?
      1) If you are a “master teacher,” offering a sexual relationship to a student, instead of seeing that the student is not there for sex but for learning their instrument, and instead of it being exploitation of a vulnerable person, this is seen as something to be honored.
      2) When a teacher has a “dramatic” fit, this is because they love the student and it’s how they become a legend, rather than it’s abuse, and exhibits that the teacher doesn’t know how to convey what they are trying to teach in a way that communicates.
      3) To coerce a student into a sexual relationship, rather than abuse and/or rape, this is seen as an excuse to teach the properties of climax and rhythm, a form of “sexuality,” that they would benefit from via a teacher because it’s not available from fellow students.
      4) Someone who practices such exploitation, and does this 60 hours a week, is entitled to it because they otherwise would have no social life.
      5) Instead of this ruining a vulnerable person’s trust in authority figures, and creating an emotional wound making them think they have to be subservient to such exploitive abuse, this is seen as a profound way to achieve social status and experience intimacy.

      • Nijinsky says:

        It seems people think I was trying to excuse abuse rather than saying it was being excused and should be acknowledged instead

    • Nightowl says:

      How was this comment even approved of by an admin for this website???

  • Susan Robinson says:

    Apparently Mr. Nonono can countenance the rape of a 14 year old girl—he applauds it even. I imagine that he’s never considered that when the young girls he is molesting cry “No!” they are not calling out his name in the throes of passion, but protesting.

  • J. Epstein says:

    There is no evidence whatsoever of a rape having occurred other than hearsay and innuendo.


    And Brodsky is not here to defend himself, how convenient…a libel suit would be rather costly.

    No. It’s all a pack of lies serving as publicity stunt for a violinist who, even back in her prime, was never terribly impressive and who nowadays is downright forgettable (in every way).

    • Rob says:

      What a reprehensible, cruel comment. You not only attack Ms. St. John’s credibility, which is supported in the Inquirer article by two sources contemporary with the abuse, but add gratuitous insults about her artistry to boot. If Mr. Brodsky were still alive, you can be sure that he, not Ms. St. John, would be the defendant.

  • pianissimo says:

    I wonder if the hypocritical Fitzpatrick expects his way too little, way too late tidbit to get him into heaven.