A conductor bursts out at Berklee

A conductor bursts out at Berklee


norman lebrecht

June 11, 2020

Berklee College of Music in Boston is being sued for ‘biased and flawed disciplinary process’ by a conductor it fired.

Peyman Farzinpour is claiming gender bias and says the school denied him access to a fair process after an alleged incident with a student.

Read here.



  • BP says:

    The man clearly should not be authorized to take a dump there ever again.

  • Guest says:

    Good. The beginning of #fightback.

    • V.Lind says:

      Yup. I don’t know the rights and wrongs of this case, but he has to be heard equally with the complainant.

      When I was an undergraduate, it was common for female students (and in a few cases, male) to fancy professors. Few — none, in my direct experience — acted upon it, although some probably flirted a little. But we were essentially a generation raised to see teachers and professors as authority figures, to be respected and to a large extent deferred to.

      That respect and deference has all but disappeared — the power balance has completely shifted, and the attitudes to sex much liberalised. (I was a student after the 60s, but The Summer of Love and all that came from it did not quite reach my campus immediately — it was quite a while before mores changed completely).

      I never as a student heard of a professor being accused of sexual impropriety, either, though one that I met socially was borderline — but I was never aware of his being more than a talker.

      Accusations abound these days, more often demonstrably or proven false in academia than in many other fields. Perhaps this is due to the tremendous pressure many young people apparently feel upon leaving home and entering the highly competitive world of academics. All the more reason to give a FULL airing to all sides of the question, though in a just society this ought to be a given.

      It’s a re-balancing, I suppose, combined with the political atmosphere and attitudes of today — in my student days, an accusation of any sort against a professor by a student would have been viewed with extreme scepticism by the administration. But burden of proof has not changed — it still rests with the accuser.

      It’s time for the “woke” to wake up — to the law, to human rights (of all) and to the identity and victim politics that have led to everything from safe spaces to trigger warnings to no-platforming — and to the LUDICROUS notion that an accusation of sexual impropriety is automatically true.

      • Bob says:

        Thank you. So true and well-stated. Male Lives Matter, too.

        • V.Lind says:

          What I’m saying is that ALL lives matter. The number of false accusations is a lot smaller than the number of true ones — I am not suggesting that there be any let-up on trying to root out predators or anyone else who takes advantage of a power situation. But academia has been subject to more accusations that have been proven to be false than many other areas of endeavour, for reasons I have suggested. And the institutions should be aware of this. and, in any case, should treat all parties justly.

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    “Relationship policy”? Thinking policy, acting policy. This is what you have to have when you infantilize the people and let them think you’re acting in their interests.

    Run, as fast as you can from this Orwellian authoritarianism.

    • Brettermeier says:

      “Relationship policy”?

      Exactly – Madness! MADNESS!

      So sorry, but I have some female students here waiting in my bedroom who want to make some extra credits.

      PS: I also take bribes from male students and uggos. I don’t discriminate.

      TAKE THAT, “Orwellian authoritarianism” with your “Relationship policy”!


  • Allen says:

    After only reading that article, it sounds like a case of “He said – she said” except that they don’t even care to hear what he said. Who would want to work in such a poisonous environment where the slightest accusation can lead to firing? I hope there is either proof, or reinstatement and/or compensation.

  • sam says:

    The linked article suggests that his defense seems to be: “the student started it”, i.e., it was the student who initiated the sexual nature of the interaction.

    But school policies that forbid faculty-student sexual relationships forbid it absolutely, i.e., no matter who initiated it, no matter who pursued it, no matter who was in control, no matter if there was no demonstrable harm, etc.

    One may disagree with the premise of such policies: that there is an inherent imbalance of power between teacher and student, that such relationships are inherently bad, that such relationships damage the school as a whole because they create a fear/perception of favoritism, etc.

    But one cannot offer as a defense: the student came on to me first.

    • V.Lind says:

      From my first year I was taught by a man who is one of the foremost scholars in the world. When I entered graduate school I chose him for one of my courses because I have always believed in studying with the best.

      One of my other courses was taught by his wife, whom I chose for the same reason. I came to know that she had been his student. Their marriage, which was one of those marriages of true minds, lasted until her recent death.

      Somehow, these two met, and got together, and knowing them both very well I have no doubt that they got to know one another through intellectual discussion that somehow led to their concluding that they wanted to spend their lives together.

      I would not imagine there was anything inappropriate — ever — in their relations. If anything, she was his intellectual superior, which he would have been the first to acknowledge.

      I’m not sure that nowadays, when students are customers and scholarship is a very distant second or worse to “rights,” which apparently include the right to a good degree without actually learning much or putting in the work, such a relationship is conceivable. But it is not always black and white.

      But institutional authorities are more concerned with image than reality, the whole thing being driven by money.

    • Orchestra fan says:

      Indeed. If the student made the propositional statements that Farzinpour alleges, then it was incumbent upon Farzinpour to report the statements to the proper campus authorities and it would have been in everyone’s best interests if he promptly dropped the student.

    • Bob says:

      What you overlook is that very often, when a student has made their play, they have leverage in the form of accusing the other party of impropriety. They may feel rejected, embarrassed, or vulnerable to being reported themselves. They know that our current anti-male culture will support them if they become the accuser and they use that to pre-empt the victim from telling others what she was up to.

  • Bruce says:

    So naturally the student must be lying.

  • Greg says:

    Based on the article, there seems to have been no effort made to get his side of the story. Such is life in the US these days. React without facts. Deny people their due process and allow the court of public opinion to rule the day. The first to make the accusation gets all the attention and public sympathy. The other party is demonized before anyone bothers to gather the facts and determine whether they have, in fact, become a victim of slander and/or libel. Character defamation has become a sport these days and the Internet is the perfect arena for it.

  • MD says:

    lol. Everyone here defending the professor based on this one short write-up when the student has an audio recording of him inviting her to join him in the restroom of the bar where they were drinking to do a very specific thing to a very specific part of his body. But go off.