Furious New York Phil is forced to take back 2 sacked players

Furious New York Phil is forced to take back 2 sacked players


norman lebrecht

April 07, 2020

Two players dismissed by the New York Philharmonic in September 2018 for unspecified misconduct will get their jobs back after a ruling by an independent arbitrator.

The players – principal oboe Liang Wang, and associate principal trumpet Matthew Muckey – were friends who socialised widely together.

At the time of their dismissal, the NY Phil told 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.

An arbitrator has now overturned that decision.

Last night, the NY Phil issued the following statement to Slipped Disc:

The New York Philharmonic just received the decision from arbitrator Richard Bloch regarding the terminations of Matthew Muckey and Liang Wang. Unfortunately, it was not in the New York Philharmonic’s favor. We are profoundly disappointed by the arbitrator’s decision. In reaching his conclusion, the arbitrator opted to apply a higher standard of proof than is typically applied in labor disputes. He found that the evidence did not meet this higher standard. In our opinion, the arbitrator failed to give appropriate weight to the events supporting the victims claims. The arbitrator made explicit that “nothing in this opinion should be read as concluding that all doubt has been removed concerning the actions of the grievants in this matter.”

The Philharmonic remains committed to providing a safe and respectful space for its musicians and our entire community. We acted upon that commitment when we retained a respected former federal jurist, Barbara Jones, to investigate the reports of misconduct we received. We took disciplinary action based upon her thorough findings and acted with the full support of our Board. While we obviously disagree with the arbitrator and stand by our original actions and decisions in this matter, we will, as we must, abide by the arbitrator’s ruling and reinstate both players.



  • Malcolm James says:

    I wonder what day-to-day working relationships will be like in the orchestra when they return, particularly in the oboe and trumpet sections. Could this be a Pyrrhic victory for the two players, or will certain other members of the orchestra feel that forced to leave? What will the reaction of influential donors be?

    I write as someone who obviously has no knowledge of the nature of the alleged misconduct but, given that Liang Wang is a huge asset in exploiting the Chinese market, the decision to dismiss them could not have been taken lightly.

    • V says:

      Social distancing actually works between desk chairs. The CSO oboist didn’t talk to the flautist for 40+ years even though the two great men sat next to each other during practices and performances? Excellent musicians both of them: Mr. Peck and Mr. Still. If the charges are true, I hope Wang and Muckey are ostracized and they will leave out of shame.

      • Nathaniel Rosen says:

        What are they charged with?

        • BC says:

          Nobody should answer that in print. Find my phone # and I’ll tell you. You played with us in Monterey some years back.

      • david hilton says:

        And if the charges are not true? Do you equally hope that the complainant(s) are ostracized and made the object of shame? Or is the mere bringing of charges nowadays enough to insulate them from responsibility for the damage they have caused to these two men, together with providing the complainants with perpetual anonymity?

        • Jack says:

          David, I would suggest that if charges were brought in the first place, somebody or some persons had to go through a lot to bring them. And if a well-regarded lawyer found cause, it’s highly likely that SOMETHING HAPPENED. Even the arbitrator didn’t say nothing happened.

      • Jack says:

        This had to do with sexual harassment, far different than the labor dispute with Still and Martinon and Peck’s part in it. (BTW, it wasn’t 40 years. How hyperbole takes over sometimes)

    • Ron Swanson says:

      The most likely outcome is that the orchestra will buy them out of their contracts.

      • Mick the Knife says:

        No, the most likely outcome is that people in the orchestra will do their job and forget about it. And one day, management will stop justifying its past actions and do their jobs.

        • Ron Swanson says:

          So standard HR practice suddenly doesn’t apply because it’s an orchestra.

          • Unusual human resources create unusual Human Resource practices, for better or worse.

          • Bruce says:

            One slight problem with that idea is that orchestra players don’t have contracts with a specified term like music directors. Instead they have tenure, meaning they can stay forever, barring some dismissable offense (in our orchestra that list includes assaulting symphony personnel or stealing symphony property).

            So “buying them out of their contracts” would mean… what? Paying them all the money they would have earned until age 65?

          • Emrla says:

            I think many principal players have separate contracts. In any event, yes a settlement would likely be a percentage of the amount they would have earned through retirement age.

          • CellovonBassist says:

            Mick is correct, Considering these allegations happened in 2010 with no criminal charges and things we’re fine until Ms. Borda decided to open it up again……there is a reason that double jeopardy exists in our criminal system.

          • Peter San Diego says:

            Do we know that “things were fine” during the intervening years? This isn’t a rhetorical question but a genuine one.

          • Marilyn Coyne says:

            Always sexualizing everything!

          • Enquiring Mind says:

            who is?

          • Marilyn Coyne says:

            It was never fine never.

          • Jack says:

            Easy to say when you don’t know all the facts, talk is cheap.

          • Marilyn Coyne says:

            I do know the facts! Do you?

          • Cynthia says:

            The facts are that multiple women have come forward to say Matt Muckey sexually assaulted them. There were rumor before that, but that multiple victims have come forward is an absolute, known fact. It is also a fact that at least one person has said Liang Wang sexually assaulter her, and that a federal judge interviewed many people and recommended they be terminated.

          • Monsies says:

            So you were there Cynthia? How are these facts if you weren’t there witnessing this? This is a he-said she-said situation and it’s libel to say these are facts

          • Cynthia says:

            Monsies, he-said she-said, as if that’s ok? Gross. Also, it’s more of a she said, and oh she said also, and then this other she also said. It’s a fact that multiple women have accused Matthew Muckey of sexual assault. It’s also fact that at least one women, separate from the Muckey accusers, has accused Liang Wang of the same in creepily similar detail. You mightn’t like that they are facts, but they are. You notice I’m sure the Philharmonic refers to “victims” in the plural. And it is probably why so many people are utterly disgusted with the union, and the decision. You can choose to believe a series of women, or choose not to, that is your prerogative, but you can’t change the fact that these women have been coming forward.

      • Saxon Broken says:

        Ron writes: “The most likely outcome is that the orchestra will buy them out of their contracts.”

        Well, if the conductor doesn’t like their playing (too many wrong notes and not blending with the other players), then he can put them on a performance plan. Completely unconnected to the disciplinary case, of course. But if their playing isn’t good enough they will have to go.

    • drummerman says:

      I can’t believe that he was hired to “exploit” the Chinese market.

      • Malcolm James says:

        No he wasn’t. He was hired because he was the best oboist applying, but it is a reason why the orchestra would not get rid of him lightly.

  • #metoo says:

    Heads can no longer be in the sand with misogynistic sexual misconduct. It’s time for the victim to be allowed to be heard and respected, regardless of what NDA was signed.

    • Malcolm James says:

      We simply do not know enough about the allegations to make sweeping statements. How credible was the person making the allegations? What other evidence was available? Yes, we must listen to those making allegations and take the allegations seriously, but this cannot develop into into a witch hunt.

      • Bruce says:

        True, we don’t know anything about the allegations… but we should remember that the people who made the decision to fire these guys know more than we (the general public) do. I’m not saying they must be right, I’m just saying they have more information.

        On a certain level, this is like opining on the divorce of a couple that one doesn’t know very well. “How could she divorce him? He’s a totally great guy in every way!” If neither one of them wants to talk about it, it’s easy to decide that she must be a heartless bitch, or he must be a secret wife-beater.

      • Marilyn Coyne says:

        We know tons about it!!

    • Alex says:

      Unfortunately you know nothing about this case – this latest ruling is the correct decision, at least as far as one of the named individuals is concerned.

      • Nathaniel Rosen says:

        You seem to know some things that are not in any public documents. What is it all about?

        • Bruce says:

          The specific nature of the allegations was not made public as far as I know, but word on the street (or at least on the internet) was that the two of them had used a date-rape drug on a fellow NYPO musician and sexually assaulted her.

          Of course nobody who wasn’t there *knows* what happened, but the allegations were taken seriously enough to start an investigation, and the results of the investigation were taken seriously enough, that NYPO management decided that terminating these two was appropriate and legal.

          Also, this happened before #metoo became a thing, so nobody at the time was accusing management of jumping on that particular bandwagon.

          • CellovonBassist says:

            Allegations which have been thoroughly vetted by local authorities, yet the New York Philharmonic thought they had a better investigation team?

          • Peter San Diego says:

            Not necessarily. Investigations could have concluded that the evidence was insufficient for criminal prosecution, for instance. The internal investigation’s standard was to inform a labor decision, which is different.

          • Anon says:

            Can you provide us with anything showing what was “thoroughly vetted” by “local authorities”, and who these local authorities were?

          • #metoo says:

            The incident happened before the #metoo movement, correct. However, the decision by the NYP to reopen the case was a direct result of the movement. No doubt, they felt the pressure of potential liability of having swept something so despicable under the rug. This misogynist (I don’t use this term lightly) was allowed to continue to play in the orchestra because his parents were funneling millions of $ into the NYP coffers from the Chinese government for years. Follow the money. Notice when they just happened to stop going to Shanghai… This goes much deeper than sexual misconduct.

          • Paula D. says:

            Me too movement was akin to the bowel movement. Enough of us empire garbage.

        • Marilyn Coyne says:

          They are not innocent

      • Marilyn Coyne says:

        I do and they are not innocent at all!

      • Marilyn Coyne says:

        Unfortunately I know them!!!

    • Anon says:

      This is not an issue of NDA’s. When victims come forward, they are invariably attacked by certain people and judged as liars and/or greedy manipulators. A person who has already been traumatized should not be required to withstand that.

      • Anon 3 says:

        Anon is correct. I have witnessed this personally.

      • Nathaniel Rosen says:

        What was the nature of the traumatization? Has it been publicly revealed? The only words I have read are “misconduct”, “victims”, and “grievants”.

    • Nathaniel Rosen says:

      Are you sure it is “misogynistic sexual misconduct” that they were charged with?

      • Gregory Newton says:

        Could it be that it has nothing to do with members of the orchestra but rather the two players spoke up about something to do with management ?

    • Jack says:

      Interesting vote on the thumbs for this post. Tells you something about Norman’s audience?

  • Phillip Ayling says:

    Maybe with our growth in Social Distancing skills they can be the first players to do all future performances by remote from their home studios.

  • Former New Yorker says:

    Shameful! That’s going to be one cold reception for those two, whenever the orchestra goes back to work. Those are already high pressure jobs. And the two players have been out of the groove for some time. I, for one, would hate to return simply because some clueless person forced management to take me back. Who wants to play where they’re not wanted?

    • Mick the Knife says:

      How do you know they aren’t wanted? MM was excellent in his position and now they have the makings of a great section.

    • Bruce says:

      I was in school in Boston in the 80s when Ozawa accidentally gave tenure to principal trumpet Charles Schleuter. I think he was unaware of/ mistaken about the deadline for denying someone tenure, and made his decision too late. Ozawa tried to dismiss him when it was no longer possible, and Schleuter fought back. There was a lawsuit, and Schleuter won. He and Ozawa both stayed with the orchestra for many years.

      Of course, being loathed by your music director is different than being loathed by your colleagues, and “I just think he’s an a-hole” is different from “he raped my friend,” so the backstage atmospherics are likely to be on a whole different level from normal backstage drama.

      • Bob says:

        It wasn’t “accidental”. Ozawa handpicked Schlueter to be his Principal Trumpet after many other world-class players auditioned. Ozawa incredibly impressed with Schlueter’s sound. He then inexplicably reversed his former opinion of Schlueter and wanted him fired. It was too late. It was a PR disaster for Ozawa and Schlueter had the last laugh.

        • Tromba in F says:

          Having been there and personally knowing the parties involved, I can assure you that Charlie was not laughing. His confidence was shattered and his relationship with Ozawa damaged. He knew that Seiji had come to prefer the assistant principal trumpeter’s playing and that does not make for a comfortable working relationship with the podium or within the section. In any event, the offenses here are completely different. Seiji tried to sack Charlie on musical grounds and the NY situation is based on alleged illegal behavior.

          • Bruce says:

            There was a book written right around then, something like “A Year With The Boston Symphony.” I forget who wrote it, but it was in the late 80s. The main themes were their performances & recording sessions for Mahler 2, and the Schleuter-Ozawa feud. The author interviewed Charlie a lot, and I agree: it sure looked like he was having a terrible year.

            I later learned to loathe trumpet players for various reasons (I’ve only ever had one person threaten to punch me in the face; guess what instrument he played), but I always felt bad for Schleuter because of that book.

          • Tromba in F says:

            I read the book (by Carl Vigeland) and know/knew many people named in it. It was definitely sympathetic to Charlie. It would be hard to not feel badly for him after reading it, just as it would be hard to respect Seiji’s leadership after reading it. Definitely not a great chapter in BSO history. Hope I wasn’t the one who threatened you 🙂

          • Trumpet says:

            I studied with Charlie. I know the whole actual story

          • Alphonse says:

            The book in question is called “In Concert: Onstage and Offstage with the BSO”, by Carl Vigeland. A great book- a behind the scenes account of the orchestra’s 1986-87 season.

        • 8va says:

          Schleuter switched trumpet and mouthpiece brands, which made a drastic difference in his tone and projection.

      • Trumpet says:

        Accidentally? Not even close. It has to do with him playing a Monette trumpet that he didn’t like because of an audience member commented on the unpolished nature of it. You have no actual idea what happened

  • Brian v says:

    I have worked for 50 years and have seen misconduct in many places I worked this is nothing new. Thankfully Iam retired

    • Player says:

      The allegations are much worse than misconduct.

      • Nathaniel Rosen says:

        What are they?

      • Alex says:

        They are – and they were dealt with by police at the time and found to be entirely baseless (in the case of one of them, at least). Then #metoo happened and the orchestra was at pains to make a strong statement of some kind, and out they went. And just like that, a man’s life is destroyed.

        • Marilyn Coyne says:

          They are not and we’re not found totally innocent.
          This happened in VAIL with the vail police. They dropped the case just down the slope from the Kobe Bryant incident. You guys are so funny.

        • wasteland says:

          If true, this assertion about the “police at the time” finding the allegations entirely baseless” could easily be documented with the police report. So can you document your assertion? Otherwise, people should assume your claim is unjustified.

        • Jack says:

          Alex: Something happened. Where there’s smoke, there is fire. It may not be chargeable as a police matter, but there are many forms of sexual harassment that fall short of criminal charges. These are both very talented musicians, so it must have taken quite a bit for the NYPhil to pursue the matter.

          • Karl says:

            Where there’s smoke there is sometimes only a smokescreen. False allegations are not uncommon.

        • Cynthia says:

          This is absolutely false. The police did not find them baseless. They couldn’t charge as there were no witnesses, though multiple women came forward with similar stories of sexual assault.

      • Marilyn Coyne says:

        How do you know what the misconduct was?!?!

  • Upset says:

    It seems to me that the language of the Philharmonic’s statement CLEARLY identifies Wang and Muckey as unwelcome returning members.
    Does anyone have any idea if there is precedent for this type of situation?
    It sounds like there may be an extremely hostile work environment for these gentlemen if their colleagues feel similarly to the management.

    • david hilton says:

      Sure there is precedent for this type of situation: the US Supreme Court was forced to allow a new Justice to join their 9-member panel, despite that individual having been credibly accused of sexual harrassment. Fortunately — and it is always a good thing when finders of fact conclude that sexual harrassment did not occur — the claims made against Clarence Thomas were found not to have been true, he was sworn into the Supreme Court, and his 8 colleagues seem to have tolerated his presence reasonably well for nearly 30 years now.

      • Marilyn Coyne says:

        They are all men!!! Clarence Thomas was cleared by MEN! Locker room talk. I know them this two lively specks of human dust. They are not innocent!

      • Skippy says:

        There was nothing credible about the accusations against Associate Justice Kavanaugh. No one corroborated those accusations; even the accuser’s closest friend from the time refused to endorse them.

      • Karl says:

        I bet the charges against the musicians are as weak as the charges against Kanvanaugh.

    • Gregory Newton says:

      But it also allows the NYP to save face and perhaps removes them from legal exposure from the two musicians. Basically, the Phil had to write something in that vein. I have no idea what the original allegations were,misconduct could be anything. Maybe they yelled at the CEO or maybe they did indeed commit some heinous act of sexual harassment. The Phil’s comments are vague enough to mean anything and we probably shouldn’t be retrying the case in public without all the facts. I’m a bit mystified why the Phil doesn’t make the allegations public as the Boston arts organizations and press seems to have no issues putting allegations in public, without exposing the source of the allegations.

    • Marilyn Coyne says:

      Omg they are the hostile work environment. They are sexualizing everything all the time. If you knew them you would understand! The poor orchestra poor players

  • NYC musician says:

    The protests in front of the performances will be huge and loud, and deservedly so IMO (as a NYC musician familiar with the case.)

    • Ron Swanson says:

      After 600 people a day dying in New York you think that anyone will care that much.

    • Nathaniel Rosen says:

      So what did they do? I am not an insider.

      • Enquiring Mind says:

        use of a date-rape drug?

      • Anon says:

        I think that the general story is that a new (young, female) member of the orchestra was sexually assaulted by both men on tour, when everyone was drinking. And that she was afraid to report them due to her being new, not tenured, and the drunk atmosphere of the situation. Again, I don’t know this first-hand, but it is the story that has been circulated. Please correct me if I have the story wrong – the “telephone game” nature of gossip doesn’t always keep things straight.

        • Enquiring MInd says:

          Was part of the story that this became an issue after a negative tenure vote?

        • Jamie Rutherland says:

          yes, I can confirm that you are indeed gossiping.

        • Follow the money says:

          The facts are that the young woman remembered having drinks with the trumpet player and next thing she remembers is waking up (coming to) naked in the bed of the oboe player, having no knowledge of how that could have happened. If you knew this oboe player, you would know his extreme narcissistic personality is fully capable of this behavior. She involved police, reported this to NYP management, and next thing you know she’s no longer with the orchestra and the incident is swept under the rug.

          • Im4Trumpet says:

            Follow the Money – this is completely inaccurate. You say these are facts, they are not true. Please stop slandering the players

    • CellovonBassist says:

      Protesting an independent arbitrators legally binding decision will bring out protesters. How is that a thing?

    • Karl says:

      Will they be protesting against the accused or the accuser? Or the management for depriving two men of their right to presumption of innocence? Sounds to me like the arbitrator though the men got railroaded.

  • Sir David Geffen-Hall says:

    It doesn’t say what their assigned duties will be. Just that they have to be rehired.

    I suggest they be made to do 2-person Outreach and Pops concerts for the rest of their time with the NY Phil.

    Send them to the most dangerous neighborhoods for outreach and make them play Memory over and over again in the deserted confines of Lincoln Center.

    They’ll quit. I guaranteed it.

  • V says:

    I have a solution: Use them selectively. No performing. They can only sit with the orchestra on the stage for Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik or Elgar’s Serenade for Strings and other pieces for string orchestra.

  • Ronna Ayscue says:

    Liang is a friend of mine. I know that this decision is controversial, but I hope that when he returns, everyone will be cordial and professional.

  • Nathaniel Rosen says:

    Everybody seems to know what they are supposed to have done except me. Am I missing something here. On my visits to New York I was always enchanted by the beautiful playing of Mr. Wang and was sad to learn of his departure.

    • Anon says:

      There’s a history of misconduct with Liang, many stories about him that have not been reported as this one was. Too many stories for them to be a coincidence – propositioning students, sexual harassment. In the professional music world, many of us have heard these stories and are worried about his return and what it will mean to women in the orchestra, not to mention younger students who might find themselves taking a lesson in his apartment and being told there are “other ways to pay”.

      • HSB says:

        And this behavior goes back to his tenure in Cincinnati. Sexual harassment charges, driving under the influence charges, etc, but familial powers and $$$ offering a cushion called “diplomatic immunity.”

      • Couperin says:

        Widely known that he’s a slime ball towards impressionable women. Definitely doesn’t prove guilt about anything but, I for one have seen his behavior first hand.

      • Karl says:

        I don’t understand how this can keep going on with modern technology. Gretchen Carlson managed to make a years worth of recordings for her case against Roger Ailes. Why can’t someone get a single recording of someone who has so many allegations?

    • Jack says:

      I wish talent was what this was all about, but obviously it wasn’t.

    • Follow the money says:

      Here’s the synopsis: a pretty young casual player found herself in the bed of the assailant, Liang, with no knowledge of how she got there. She reported this to police and management and the result was she was no longer playing with the orchestra and he didn’t even receive a reprimand.
      The ugly truth: his parents are highly influential in the political class in China and were funneling huge sums of money to the orchestra, bringing them to Shanghai for years, and consequently making Liang Wang untouchable.
      I sincerely hope an investigative report will be made on this. NYP is a culpable player in this criminal act. It’s only due to a new proactive CEO (Barbara Glaser) seeing the NYP’s potential exposure to the powerful #metoo movement, that action was finally taken years later.

      • Cynthia says:

        This is very close, but your story relates to one of the (at least) two Matthew Muckey accusers. The Colorado instance of sexual assault was against Matthew Muckey. It was not the only instance where Muckey accused. Alan Baer of the NY Philharmonic knows of multiple, and has spoken about them. Liang Wang’s accusers are from separate incidents. Though I believe one of the stories is similar. I don’t see how they could ever allow men with so many unrelated accusers back into the life of the orchestra.

        • Anon says:

          You provide us no proof of this and your comments are on the side of slanderous and defamatory.

  • The arbitrator, Richard Block, is an attorney specializing in arbitration. He spent 20 years working as a magician on cruise ships, and continues a double career as a lawyer and prestidigitator. Seems appropriate…


    • CellovonBassist says:

      Don’t like the decision…..defame the professional arbitrator, stay classy!

    • Mick the Knife says:

      “Rich Bloch is a labor arbitration attorney, serving most notably as a neutral arbitrator for the National Football League and other professional sports organizations.” I would expect you have to be a pretty well known arbitrator to get hired by the NFL.

      • Bill says:

        You might think you needed to be pretty well known to be hired as an expert by the Trump administration, too, but…it ain’t necessarily so!

    • Phillip Rose says:

      Thank you for the link, William. BTW, it’s Bloch, not Block. Beware, providing a link to a puff piece article in a harmless regional publication is now considered *defamation*!

      • That’s not true. As established by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, sharing third party material on interactive websites is not defamation. Only the originating author can be held libel. Various links to confirming case law can be found on the web. Without that section of the CDA, much of the web would simply have to shut down.

        It should also be noted that the above article is not defamatory., and that Bloch actively participated in its creation.

        Still, in my opinion, his ruling is an abomination that, as the orchestra noted, did not give adequate weight to events and their circumstances. I would like to know more about Bloch’s background in case it might reveal some issues that explain his ruling. The American judicial system, including arbitration, has been so corrupted by biased appointments and other problems, it is only reasonable for people to carefully question many of its rulings.

  • Olassus says:

    Why would it be or not be “in the New York Philharmonic’s favor”? NYPO should be just as happy that these men were not found to have misbehaved to an extent requiring their departure.

    • notsobright says:

      Correct and in all murder trials the victims families should be just be happy they didn’t have enough evidence to convict and realize the alleged murderer didn’t behave like they thought……….

    • Tamino says:

      Exactly. I do not understand, why NYPhil publicly states, that they consider themselves above the law, ethically.
      Anti-enlightened position.
      But then it‘s the US.

      • Chickabee says:

        It wasn’t a criminal trial. It was a labor dispute handled by a 3rd party arbitrator that both sides agreed to regardless of the outcome. NYP can take whatever opinion they want on the matter. Has nothing to do with being above the law.

        • CellovonBassist says:

          How did the criminal trial work out? Oh, there wasn’t enough evidence for that was there?

          • Anon says:

            Aha! Perhaps we should advise victims of a crime to keep their mouths shut and just suck it up if they can’t provide enough evidence!

          • Cynthia says:

            Sexual assaults are rarely prosecuted successfully if there are no witnesses, which there rarely are. This is quite well known. It’s amazing how people don’t drug and rape people in public.

    • david hilton says:

      Excellent point. And one which everyone else is overlooking.

    • Marilyn Coyne says:

      But they did mis behave constantly

    • Jack says:

      Did you actually read their comment above?

  • sam says:

    Doesn’t the music director have a lot of say as to who he wants to play principal when he’s conducting? Eg, Welser-Most freezing out the former Cleveland principal clarinet for his concerts and on tour, ditto Simon Rattle regarding the former Berlin principal horn for his concerts and tours, etc, etc….

  • phf655 says:

    We don’t know what they were accused as having done. Perhaps they have supporters within the orchestra. Sometimes I think #MeToo has gone too far; what was once considered to be boorish, perhaps inappropriate behavior, that might have been ignored by the recipient, or dealt with privately, has been elevated to the quasi-criminal.
    In a collegial world, perhaps easier to come by in the era of the coronavirus, a human relations oriented conference would now be held by the Philharmonic, differences would be aired, and apologies would be rendered.
    It is significant that the Associate Principal Oboist of the Philharmonic is the long-serving Ms. Sherry Sylar, who did a magnificent job filling in as Principal Oboe during Mr. Wang’s absence.

  • mary says:

    Everytime they have a solo, audience members should take their phones out to play “Don Giovanni, a cenar teco…”

    • Anon says:

      Well said

    • Fan says:

      There is no way for average audience member to know what actually happened, so you are proposing mob behaviour based on mob mentality. It is also illogical. If every single composer’s music is to be judged by their moral failure by one standard or another, there will be no music left in the concert hall.

  • Annnon says:

    “I wish I had that arbitrator,” Placido.

  • Hellerich says:

    Hi guys!

  • Annnon says:

    It’s an omertà.

    The fact that in these 2 years, not a single NY Phil member posted (even anonymously) the allegations of the case, or gave testimony in the arbitration, shows how much that they are protecting their own, how much they are concerned about their own image rather than the truth.

    • Mick the Knife says:

      Or how willing they are to mind their own business? How can you know other’s motivations?

  • Bruce says:

    From the NY Times article:

    “In its statement on Monday, the Philharmonic quoted from the ruling by the arbitrator, Richard Bloch, that ‘nothing in this opinion should be read as concluding that all doubt has been removed concerning the actions’ of Mr. Wang and Mr. Muckey.”


    For what it’s worth.

  • NY Musician says:

    Regardless of what anyone knows, thinks they know, or probably more likely, doesn’t know, I think one should recall the facts in the handling of this case. These two men were dismissed a year and eight months ago, which means this arbitration has been going on nearly as long. I think the NYPO had enough time to present a case thorough and solid enough to back up their claim if such a case existed. The arbiter certainly gave them a reasonable amount of time to do so and one may assume that the NYPO was diligent enough to present witnesses and testimonies that had anything to back up their claim. Perhaps this ultimately calls into question what one thinks they know. Are the stories that have existed credible? Are any of those stories the reason this happened or was it maybe something else entirely? What is the union’s stance on this remarkable event? What kind of person is Deborah Borda? Fruit for thought!

  • Embarrassed observer says:

    Good to know the musicians’ union cares more about making sure the men it represents can do whatever they want without repercussions, rather than making sure the women it represents have a safe work environment. Classical music, remaining a time capsule in more ways than one…

  • Vivaldini says:

    Wait, they roofied a fellow orchestra member? I thought it was an intern in Colorado??

    • Eric Wright says:

      Not only did they roofie her, but when she filed a police report her – and another musician who stuck up for her – were denied tenure. The musician who stuck up for her and was dismissed turned around and won multiple successive auditions, so we can’t exactly call her playing the cause here, I would say.

    • Mick the Knife says:

      roofied: slipping a mickey (for people my age)

  • Bill says:

    Why not tell us who you are and what you know?

  • Nick says:

    Were there auditions for these jobs after these men left? What happens if those positions were filled?

  • Roddy says:

    They have to feel like they are part of things. You know, since most of them aren’t part of anything significant in the classical music world.

  • Ilio says:

    I really doubt that they’ll ever play with the orchestra again. Management will buy them out just as they do with long term injury/illness.

  • sam says:

    We know 2 things from the NYT article:

    1) The union initiated the arbitration, so the union DID make a stance, to protect the accused instead of the accuser, assuming the accuser is also a member of the orchestra, thus also a member of the union.

    2) The NYT — which is capable of bringing down Harvey Weinstein with independent investigation and reporting, capable of taking on the Chinese government under threat of being kicked out of China, capable of taking on Trump under threat of his libel defamation suits — is incapable or unwilling to do the minimum of investigation as to what the specific allegations are or who testified and who did not. As we wonder what the purpose of the classical music critic/section is in today’s newspaper (the NYT has like 5 full time classical music critics). Well, apparently, it is not about basic journalism. Go, NYT, do your complacent review of the oboe solo next time you passively spend a pleasant evening at the symphony.

    • guest says:

      “Sam”, I think you are mistaken about one thing. The article lists the two musician defendants as having their own private attorneys, and they are not affiliated with the Union. The arbitration procedures are behind closed doors, so speculation about the union’s involvement is probably inconsistent with the facts.

    • The Real Anon says:

      Sam: #1 it is not a music critic’s job to rectify or even investigate possible workplace violations. Jocelyn Gecker, the AP reporter who reported on Dutoit & Domingo had zero experience in the world of music.
      #2 Zachary Wolfe, who wrote the NYTimes article is a jerk. And a fairly ignorant one. One thing he is not, though, is complacent. He uses his position at NYTimes as a bully pulpit, trying to mask his own lack of knowledge.

      Wolfe’s understanding of music is limited. I imagine he must have a theoretical knowledge of some obscure, specific genre of music but it does not include orchestral performance. Just read his reviews. He doesn’t have a clue what he is writing about. No perspective whatsoever. He seems to believe that if he writes negatively about artists, criticizing them randomly then people will assume that he actually knows something. For that reason I say he is not complacent. He has uneccesarily attacked fine artists because he is too ignorant to understand what they are doing.

      Just look at his absurd attempt to define Liang Wang’s responsibilities in the orch. in the article he wrote: “He gives the A pitch”. That’s the literary equavalent of people who pronounce “Mozart” with a soft “z”, say “BAH soon” for bassoon or Americans who think they are being clever by calling people who play the flute “flauwtists”.

      I take no stock in anything Zachary Wolfe says. He is not a good critic. I would never want to see him doing investigative journalism on anything let alone this delicate topic. He is a nasty piece of work and has no business writing for the NYTimes, about this subject or any other. And no, he has never reviewed me, thank God. I wouldn’t let him into any concert I gave. We should be count our lucky stars he is not investigating this. It would be a disaster.

      • Bruce says:

        I tried to respect Woolfe, until he acknowledged that he had given Alan Gilbert a hard time in print because he didn’t fit the image of what Woolfe thought an orchestra conductor should be like. I don’t know if he thought a conductor must have a European accent and wear a top hat and a cape, or what; but when he acknowledged that he had basically helped run the guy out of town for non-musical reasons, I gave up on him. I still read his reviews, because if someone gives a concert I want to know what they played, but if he expresses musical opinions, I just keep in mind that they are coming from an eleven-year-old.

        (And no, I’m not inclined to give him credit for acknowledging his mistake — not when his “mistake” was a betrayal of his professional values. (There should be a critic’s version of the Hippocratic Oath; no an oath to do no harm, but to base one’s criticism on the work and not on one’s perception of the artist.))

  • Annnon says:

    These events just confirm the reputation of the Philharmonic as a nasty and brutish place to work at, among American orchestras, and the best principals and conductors (Abbado, Rattle, Muti, Salonen) have repeatedly passed on the NY Phil in the last several decades as a place to take a permanent position. Nice to visit, but can’t wait to get the hell out.

  • Duty Onyu says:

    Hey remember when we had this thing called due process? Let’s break down the situation here. The management tried to avoid negative media attention by firing these individuals. Borda comes out as the queen of #metoo. They hired a judge (pay for play) to make their case whole. It went to trial with an independent arbitrator to make a binding decision. They lost and are upset they spent so much money banging their head against the wall. Do you really think the NYP management would be mad if they had won the case? They would have been showering the arbiter with praise!! Now they are trying to win in the court of public opinion since they lost. Nothing to see here.

  • reedlover35 says:

    The allegations for these men which of course are purely speculative at this point go back many many years and from many many incidents. One gentlemen has stories dating back to his university years. It is of course “he say she said” but the shes have had a lot to say over the years and their has been quite a few of them. Let’s hope there are not anymore. That would be the true loss in all of this.

  • Anon says:

    Whatever Liang Wang and Matthew Muckey accomplish for the rest of their lives, in or out of the New York Philharmonic, this will be in their obituary.

  • Wu Han says:

    From what I heard it was not some kind of date rape drug you could find on “the streets of NYC”. It was a blend of ancient Chinese herbs put into the victims drink at a party in Colorado

  • Who really cares? says:

    Doesn’t surprise me. Everything I’ve ever heard about the classical music world is sordid. People engage in intense competition to make increasingly lifeless music that mostly signifies status and wealth – but which has fewer and fewer real listeners as performance practice has become more standardized and predictable. What you end up with is a lot of broken people filled with anger and despair. People in the more important positions, like Mr. Wong, will take advantage of that to get whatever they want.

    • Musician says:

      I’m sorry, but your comment makes no sense.

      “Performance practice has become more standardized and predictable?” How so? And you think performance practice is the reason classical music “has fewer and fewer real listeners?”

      I have a feeling you don’t know what performance practice is. Since you’re obviously not from the business, I can assure you that performance practice has nothing to do with the NY Phil or the behavior of these two men.

      You then concluded that “fewer and fewer real listeners” leads to “a lot of broken people filled with anger and despair.” Really? You think the main thing musicians care about is audience size? Being an artist is a calling, like becoming a priest. You clearly don’t understand the sacrifices professional musicians make and have made since childhood. We don’t do it because we want to; we do it because we have to. There are messed up people everywhere, in every field, as well as heroes. If you’re looking for a complete understanding of anything, generalizing will get you nowhere.

      And did you mean that Mr. Wang (not Wong) will take advantage of broken people or of being a broken person himself? You may be projecting a tad with that one…

  • Bill Gross says:

    Ah for the Good Old Days when we spread rumors about musicians that had to do with their tenure or lack there of rather than their private lives.

  • WY says:

    I just wonder what their life is like nowadays in NY Phil