Transgender violinist sues over orchestral PTSD

Transgender violinist sues over orchestral PTSD


norman lebrecht

November 25, 2020

Bloomberg Law reports:
A violinist for the San Francisco Symphony sued Prudential Insurance Co. of America in federal court, alleging the insurer owes him long-term disability benefits because his post-traumatic stress disorder prevents him from playing.

Eliot Lev, who filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, says he’s been unable to perform his job since 2018 because of post-traumatic stress disorder that’s triggered by “playing the violin or even thinking about playing the violin.”

Lev says he learned to play as a young child in the former Soviet Union and was criticized, berated, and punished by his…

Read on here.

Lev’s website says: After devoting 28 years to music, I’m excited to be involved in social justice advocacy, mental health, and community support. I’m passionate about using my lived experience as a transgender Jewish immigrant with disabilities (among other things) and my training as a researcher, social worker, and counselor to serve marginalized communities…

I’m honored to have been the first openly transgender musician in a major American orchestra and I look forward to the day when it’s nothing unusual, in any space. I’m really grateful for the amazing people I got to meet and the opportunities the world of music has afforded me.

His San Francisco Symphony page is here.


  • Simon says:


    • Occamsrazor says:

      Simon, how dare you? Don’t you realize that by now saying 2+2=4 is vicious discrimination of 5? Have you no compassion for 5 which has the right to be made from a pair of 2’s? PS. There are people suffering from chromosomal disorders and hermaphroditism who genuinely may need surgeries to be reassigned. These are the minority. The rest of them are severely mentally ill and are using doctors entirely devoid of morals to act out their insanity by irreversible butchery. Some people think they are cats, an obliging doctor may wanna surgically make them look like that, the transgender logic is the same.

      • KO Boomer says:

        Yikes! The boomer is strong is this pair! Ease up you sour old grandads, before you blow a gasket!

        • BruceB says:

          I’m always impressed at how easy it is for someone to know more about individuals they’ve never met than those individuals know about themselves.

          • Bone says:

            Yes, exactly! “Among other things” means there is much more to know about this Jewish russian transgender violinist with disabilities suffering from PTSD!

      • Brian says:

        Welcome to the world where saying “women are not men” is considered “hate speech.” Very soon, playing in tune will be considered subjective and correcting wrong notes or rhythms will be considered assault.

        • David says:

          um what kind of “world” are you living in? “women are not men” have never and will never be considered hate speech. The length at which you contort reality to appease your small ego is astounding. Please try to come join us in reality. It may be hard at first but in the long run it will be worth it. Small steps!

          • Marfisa says:

            David, you should check out the controversy around J.K. Rowling and TERF.

          • V.Lind says:

            No kidding. It is a huge disgrace, and has caused trouble for Rowling with her publishers, her appearances and elsewhere.

        • Occamsrazor says:

          Also, have you noticed heterosexuals simply go about their boring straight lives while all kinds on this alphabet list of conditions go out of their way to attract attention to their innumerable pipi-related situations and monetize this attention? Who knows if most of it isn’t driven by hopes of profit? One would think they should be the last people seeking attention. Try to imagine someone of extremely high culture, refined feelings and wealth like Horowitz suddenly confessing to slight fruitiness during an interview. An intellectually honest person regardless of sexual orientation has to admit that it’s unimaginable.

          • Marge O. says:

            Interesting an thought provoking, these signals of musical virtue and look at mes is part of the NPD culture. We see a lot of this behavior from the garbage collector of the world. If they can get pictorials in rag mags and monetise the situation, they will do it. It’s in their “DNA.” More and more was their god. Intellectual honesty and thinking via manichaenism was their m.o. and nuance was lost on them. Most had an pathologic inability to connect the dots and voted with their feet by gleefully accepting what was offered.

    • Couperin says:

      Yeah but he’s really pretty! You can always see it in the eyes.

  • M McAlpine says:

    Many of us could have suffered from PTSD when we thought about work. But we got on with it!

  • BruceB says:

    The article is behind a paywall, so can’t tell what it says or why he has PTSD. On his page on the SF Symphony website — and a link to an article from his own site — he talks about how supportive his employers & coworkers have been, so hopefully it’s not related to his treatment in the orchestra?

    • V.Lind says:

      No: I’d be interested to read this, but I hardly think a subscription to Bloomberg Law is something that would come in handy.

    • Maurice says:

      It would have been helpful if this item had said whether there is any further information in the Bloomberg article about the cause of his problems. If there is no other trigger, I’m inclined to side with M McAlpine.

    • Marge O. says:

      Of course, it’s behind a us empire “pay wall.” Charge for everything and anything–us hu$tlers and hucksters all trying to sell something.

      • E Rand says:

        must have something to do with America being the wealthiest nation in world history.

        • Marge O. says:

          Based on debt, loans, and fraud. 400yrs of war mongering, genocide, 1000+ overseas war bases. And #1 in propaganda thanks to Eddie Bernays and Operation Paperclip.

        • Marge O. says:

          80% of americans do not have 1000$ to their name. Huge debts, tax riggering, shake downs of countries through FATCA and CBT, and fraud/corruption. If you believe its “wealthiest in the world” then maybe some historical research would be helpful by Berman, Michten, McDougall, Hill, Berkovitch, Hoffsteder, Moffat, Lippman, Vidal, etc.. reality is tough for many, the propaganda and indoctrination was very strong amongst their tax/debt slaves. Everything was abt getting a buck. Sickos. Anti-human, no values, just expansion and imperialism. Why would us classical musak be any different? And hence, why it was a failed empire. Onward and downward. 2 arms on the same monster.

      • American says:

        Marge O., why do you hate “us” so much? Are people in Australia the only ones you like, or are we the only ones you hate? Check yourself. Remember that there are hundreds of millions of people in this country, unique individuals with different value systems from each other. I, for one, have nothing to do with the article being behind a paywall. I have nothing to sell you, other than a tiny bit of logic and compassion. You too old to be so intolerant.

        • Occamsrazor says:

          American, I couldn’t care less about various mutations of libido and the related matters. People should be allowed to stick their dicks in blenders if they so desire. My only concern is the current destruction of truth and fact. There are people who see themselves as one-legged, they look for and sometimes find underground surgeons willing to amputate perfectly healthy limbs to help them achieve their desired image. Removing healthy genitalia is the same. Common sense ain’t so common. Our masked situation is the direct consequence of this destruction. Enjoy the grim parade of terminal cancer patients who happened to have runny noses on the days of their passing being used to deprive you of basic human rights to the degree that Nazis only dreamed of.

          • American says:

            Occamsrazor, I couldn’t care less about the various mutations of your vodka-induced ravings. It’s really too much trouble to wade through your nonsense and respond. Goad away, poor soul.

          • Occamsrazor says:

            American, I drink vodka rarely and in symbolic amounts during somber occasions such as funerals of people of Russian descent. I get drunk whenever I feel like it on slivovitz aka rakia, grappa, Israeli or Lebanese arak and tequila. Vodka is a bitter drink for grim occasions. The current situation caused by the near-total destruction of reason calls for it. Thanks for reminding me, no more happy Mediterranean booze for me.

          • Occamsrazor says:

            I’ve just remembered one of the last occasions when I had vodka. It was over 10 years ago, in the middle of a night, in the company of a Russian pianist and an American guitar player. We were standing silently in front of Rachmaninov’s grave, passing a joint, touching the cross and passing half a pint of vodka which is normally the amount suitable for one Soviet sparrow rather than 3 full-size conservatory graduates. Actually it was shared between 4 graduates.The ritual was explained in advance to the American friend and ended by me pouring about a quarter of the tiny bottle on the ground for Rachmaninov to have a drink with us. I think that ground is soaked in booze. I admit that the reefer was somewhat in bad taste but I suspect he had to have smoked some during his teenage days of skipping classes and hanging out with gypsies, their merchandise hasn’t changed in centuries. Vodka is sorrow, war and poverty. It’s often used by Russians ritually to remind them of the hardships of their motherland. For getting wasted I sincerely recommend gin which is vodka covered up by juniper and suitable for international occasions. British are geniuses at flavoring things. I was introduced to Bombay Sapphire by my English now ex-girlfriend and immediately agreed in spite of my Anglophobia that this noble version of vodka was clearly an improvement of the gloomy Russian original. For some reason gin is the least popular drink among Russians, seems like the alcohol-processing part of our brains can’t summon the intellectual honesty to admit that gin is superior, probably because we haven’t forgiven ourselves yet for already betraying Mother Russia once by our clear preference for French cognac. The non-stop mentioning vodka and Russians in the same sentence by Mr.Lebrecht and others here is amusing. His cultural level is way above those who believe such stereotypes. Has anyone here honestly tried to drink vodka the way we do it, meaning undiluted and in large amounts, swallowing at least 3-6 ounces at once? It’s a desperate affair, suitable only for dire circumstances. To mix vodka with anything to hide the eerie flavor is a sacrilege akin to a Stalingrad-themed video game. Stravinsky is seen in photographs swigging whiskey from big bottles, he was a committed alcoholic. Sofronitsky drank champagne. Shostakovich drank cognac. Here in NYC I’m surrounded by Russian, Ukrainian, Jewish, Polish, Armenian friends and I see nothing but cognac, whisky and occasional kosher slivovitz, Czech or Serbian. Nobody drinks vodka except poor people of all nationalities and the occasional far-left sociology freshman from Hunter college trying it after a course on Social realism in some fake Manhattan KGB-themed bar and nearly choking to death. Sadly for you, the rates of Russian booze consumption have been dropping almost vertically for the past 10-15 years and now are behind those of England, which is behind the Baltics ,which are behind Poland ,which is behind South Korea and that country, ladies and gentlemen, is behind Uganda which happens to be the #1 in terms of per capita ethanol consumption. Uganda is where the Russian soul has moved. Every single Ugandan including children is permanently connected to a plastic gas canister filled with moonshine made from fermented bananas. I’ve seen a documentary about these oddly dark Russians, the kids look exactly like tanned versions of me and my classmates from Moscow Central music school during lunch breaks. But the current generation of Russians is into fitness, weightlifting of the most brutal kind like kettlebells and MMA. It’s unfortunate that even cultured people in the West are still peddling stereotypes from Rambo movies. This concludes my highly condensed ethanol lecture, improvised on the spot to kill time on a NY bus filled with mostly dark, hard people, intoxicated and fast approaching total Russianness. PS. For those Westerners who still consider us to be your mortal enemies and the antithesis of you, oddly also White, don’t lull yourself by old myths of us being some shit-faced drunk, unshaven Yetis. The current generation of Russians are sober, lean, often able to speak foreign languages, even including Chinese and what is the most frightening new feature, forever inoculated against the spiritual plague of liberalism and the worship of the West which nearly killed us in the early 90’s when this plague was unleashed on us together with rivers of cheap vodka, of all things. Simplifying your enemies makes sense only if the enemies are dumb enough to join the game and are cheerfully simplifying themselves faster than you are rendering yourself defenseless by believing your own bullshit.

          • American says:

            Occamsrazor, apologies for using the vodka stereotype. What I really should have said is that, based on your comments, you don’t appear to be of sound mind. I can think of about 100 things I’d rather do than engage with a psychotic person. Sorry you’re so lonely, but I can’t be your friend.

          • Occamsrazor says:

            American, now I can see that you are not only a man of substance and integrity but are also capable of keen analytical perception. Finally a factual post devoid of empty ad hominem and proving your previous ad hominem-infested posts to be sarcasm. I don’t remember the current definition of psychosis cause psychiatry is not even pretending to be a science anymore but is ever-evolving bullshit upholding political correctness and actively abetting the relentless assault of the PC dictatorship upon humanity. As far as I remember, psychosis is a gross distortion of one’s thinking and perception of reality. Most people haven’t mastered even the basics of psychiatry and psychology. They throw words like psychopath, psychotic, schizo etc like curses, basing their choice of those words on their own idea of what sounds more offensive. If you ask them about the difference between things like psychopath and sociopath or schizophrenic and schizoid, you get a blank stare and the answer that they are all kind of assholes. I already see that you are not one of those unfortunate ignoramuses. Things have been tough lately and I might want to screw the system a little by applying for psych disability. Would you be so kind as to point out some factual signs supporting your diagnosis of me exhibiting a thought disorder so I can capitalize on the gifts that are already there and exaggerate them a little in front of a shrink? It’ll be a modest attempt to go a little deeper into the taxpayer’s wallet than would be possible without such help. As for being lonely and not having friends. No on the first guess of yours and a resounding yes on the second. I don’t have any friends and never did . Neither do you, like most people of our generation. You would agree that at least friendship must be kept real in our illusory world, you wouldn’t want the rot of devaluation to reach such basic concepts. Real friendship is very rare and is almost exclusively the product of war because peace time never creates opportunities for real testing of it. I’m a civilian and I would be horrified to find myself one day so lost that I would call my countless close long term acquaintances of every race, nationality, gender and political leaning, my friends. Having friends is an honor rarely bestowed on civilians. Besides those I have business associates, a few co-defendants and two useful idiots. If you are like the most people, you consider people with whom you have a beer on weekends and who occasionally lend you a 20$, your friends. I don’t drink beer, I work weekends and I don’t remember the last time I needed a 20$ so bad I would turn to imaginary friends to borrow it.

          • Occamsrazor says:

            American in the name only, here is something for you to think about. Maxim Gorky who was one of the premier Bolshevik writers, once said that his main idea was irreconcilable hatred for truth. At least he had the guts to admit it.

          • Edmund H. says:

            Give it up American (of which you are a poor example unless you’re yet another Norman-bot like Safford).

            Occamsrazor has cogent points, stronger moral standards and bigger balls.

          • Occamsrazor says:

            Edmund, thanks for the kind words but I consider my balls to be average size. The tiger of political correctness is made of paper which is now getting wet and soggy and soon will offer no resistance at all to simple facts presented in a sufficiently sarcastic manner. The Malthusian genocidal wet dream of a handful of mad super-rich self-appointed owners of the human zoo, to force us to accept the vaccine has the unintended effect of waking people up faster than ever before. There is a line in a recent Russian mafia tv series: “ brains tend to work a lot better when there is a gun stuck to them”. TPTB have bitten off more than they can chew this time. I ask my colleagues who hate Trump and voted for Biden if they would agree to be vaccinated. They say though their masks that they would try to avoid doing this as long as possible. When I ask about what they are going to do when and if it becomes mandatory, they have nothing to say.

        • Marge O. says:

          Please do not be triggered us-ian. America was a huge mistake-Freud. the business of the us, was business. It was NEVER a country in any sense. Time for some coffee perhaps-and not from some capitalistic garbage chain…. Pay to play “classical music” business in the us empire was window dressing on the rotting carcass.

          • American says:

            Marge O., what is wrong with you? “America was a huge mistake-Freud” What does that even mean? A mistake?Who are you to declare that? I was born here, through no fault of my own. If you hate the U.S., don’t come here. Don’t watch our movies or TV shows, and don’t read our books. Don’t read Norman’s posts regarding anything that happens in the U.S. Don’t even think about us. But you can’t write BS here and expect some American not to call you on it.

            “Everything was abt getting a buck. Sickos. Anti-human, no values, just expansion and imperialism.” Listen to yourself. Expansion and imperialism? I’m sure you know that Australia was stolen from the aboriginal people by the British, who used it as a penal colony. Is that your fault? No, of course not. Should I call you a criminal or a murderer the way you call me anti-human and a sicko? No, because that would define me more than it would you.

            I sincerely want to understand. Why are you trying to start a fight? This blog is read by people in many different countries. Your comments are starting to resemble the insane ramblings of Occamsrazor and the other right-wing troll who writes under hundreds of handles, spewing conspiracy theories. Those two aren’t worth my time, but I’m puzzled by you.

            Think rationally. You cannot accuse everyone in a given country of being guilty of whatever actions their government or corporations have taken. The U.S. is a relatively young country, and we have our struggles, as the whole world saw when we elected a racist, sexist traitor to the White House in 2016. However, generalizing about an entire country leads you to inaccurate conclusions. Are you the same as everyone else in Australia? Are you guilty of everything Australia’s government, corporations and Rupert Murdoch have done? No, of course not.

            You write, “Pay to play ‘classical music’ business in the us [sic] empire was window dressing on the rotting carcass.” Rotting carcass? Again, what is wrong with you?

            “And hence, why it was a failed empire. Onward and downward. 2 arms on the same monster.” Monster? Failed empire? Personally, I never wanted to be an inhabitant of an empire. I just showed up here. The story of our country has not ended. The earth continues to rotate on its axis, and time passes. There is growth. We’re human beings, all of us, trying to make our way through life, just like you.

            It’s not too late for therapy. Perhaps you should try meditation to clear out some of the poison in your heart. Your anguish is palpable.

          • Marge O. says:

            America was NEVER a county in any sense. It was simply, a business opportunity. Good luck with the cognitive dissonance. And enjoy the propaganda thanks to Eddie Bernays and ‘your’ government. Maybe brush up on some Chomsky or Vidal. Onward and downward.

          • Marge O. says:

            Classical musak was just another us-ian hustle for the masses. Sigmond Freud-america was a huge mistake said to his nephew Eddie Bernays (the father of us-ian propaganda). Facts. Calvin Coolidge-the business of america was business. No health care system, employment at will, citizen based double taxation, FATCA, nonstop endless wars, false flags, con sumeristic culture of debt and selling shlock junk to the world, hollywood movies-propaganda stories of explosions/war/pc garbage, no mandated holiday times, polluter of the world, 80% of the populace has 300K+ USD plus interest, working poor/wage, highest infant mortality rates, highest psychiatric drug use (4% of world’s populati0n yet uses >80% psych meds-must be very happy there…), obesity, suicides, mass murders, etc..etc..the denials and delusions were quite common with americans they lived in an alternative universe-reality. Stupidity excites me-Vidal.

          • American says:

            For someone who hates the U.S. so much, you sure spend a lot of time reading, thinking, and writing about my country. Yes, it is a country, regardless of what you say or think. Believe it or not, the decision of what is or is not a country is not up to you, or Freud. BTW, you might want to move on to Jung; most others have. You could learn a bit about your shadow, and perhaps you wouldn’t feel driven to spend so much time writing anonymous, hostile comments. This can’t be enriching or enjoyable for you.

            I’m not going to flagellate myself because of something Calvin Coolidge said. No matter how hard you try to convince me that I live in a terrible country with terrible people, I will never agree with you. Why would you want that for anyone? I’m trying to make the best life I can for myself and my family, under the system in which I find myself. Aren’t you?

            It’s clear to me that you’re sorely lacking in compassion and understanding, which reflects on your relationship with yourself. I pity you, trying to make yourself an expert in what’s wrong with someone or something else so you can spout off whenever you get the opportunity.

            Don’t worry. Your hostility towards a system of government that appears to have caused you immense personal harm—even though you don’t live here—comes through. You can’t even punctuate or spell properly, you’re so angry. Why? Are you jealous? Why do we get under your skin to such a degree? There are manufacturers of cheap junk and scammers from all over the globe. Americans don’t have a monopoly on greed.

            Get help, before you die a bitter, tortured old lady. Focus on that which you like, not on a distant country that fills you with ire.

          • Contraoboe says:

            Name only « American »- you’re quite interesting. « The garbage collector of the world ». Yup. They were owned and thought they were « free »…now, wear that face diaper and tell everyone to be  « safe ». Merry Christmas and enjoy that passport to nowhere. Listen to occamsrazor, you might learn something other than parroting mission statements.

          • Marge O. says:

            Why was reality so offensive? In the huge mistake that masqueraded as a country, we see an extended experiment in denying people basic life needs, and it seems to be serving them undoubtedly well. Maybe we all need to listen to another Mahler 2 rebroadcast for only a 250-500 dollar donation so the con ductor and bored members can collect their 6 and 7 figure sallies during these very, very tough times.

            To help during these very tough times: Keep hamster wheeling for that corporation, listen to orchestral rap music; and here’s an equation that Berman and Mechten would agree on: Wage slave + Stockholm syndrome=us-ian. Onward and downward.

          • American says:

            Why so unhappy and aggressive, Marge O.? You obviously live in a perfect country that wasn’t a huge mistake. So what’s the problem? Why such bitterness? Why such rage and animosity? You’re triggered by everything I write. All I can think is that whatever my country represents for you is precisely the thing you cannot accept in yourself. But that’s just my armchair analysis. You need help. Maybe you should ask your doctor to adjust your medications.

          • Occamsrazor says:

            American in the name only, would you answer one question for me? Will you let your owners inject you with their tasty vaccine that normally takes 10-20 years to test to minimize the chances of long term side effects? Don’t try to weasel your way out of answering because only simple yes or no will be accepted. Although Bill Clinton has taught us a long time ago how to weasel ones way out of such situations. PS. Someone said that Americans love standards so much they have 2 for each occasion.

          • Occamsrazor says:

            “we elected a racist, sexist traitor to the White House in 2016.” Care to offer some facts supporting your ad hominem? You should stick to calling him a little overweight because he obviously is although next to an average American he is skinny. Your baseless style of discussion and ignoring facts is the currency that far from everyone is willing to accept. The vaccine syringe which is getting closer every day to our collective ass directly depends on how many people accept this currency. Most political commentators agree that the shooting phase of the final standoff between those willing to accept this currency and those who are not is within weeks at most. Think about it. There has never been anything more interesting than the ingredients of this vaccine and those who want to distract us from keeping our attention on them are criminally naive in their hope of earning a shot from a different batch reserved for Quislings. That batch doesn’t exist.

          • Marge O. says:

            The worst lies, are the ones we tell ourselves. Anguish is and was the us empire, 400yrs+ of their nonsense. Historical trajectory is a great teacher and it shows no mercy.

        • Marge O. says:

          BTW: your president IS and WAS America. He is the most American president in every sense of word. Most honest historians have made evidence-based arguments (not emoting) regarding this fact. Both of the farcical us-ian polly parties are the same. They are both “patriots” and want to make the us empire “great”? Empire or empire lite? Whatever”great” means–more imperialism, endless war mongering, 1000+ overseas war bases, and selling/hustling junk to the rest of the world. Enjoy the decline. or be triggered again boomer whilst listening to marches and flatulent oom pahs from boston pops playing more recycled junk for another dollar.

          • American says:

            Marge O., this story is already on page 3 and I’m ready to move on. I hope for your sake that you are, too. Keep in mind that this all started because this story was behind a paywall. When I saw that, I thought, “oh, I don’t want to pay to read about that. I guess I won’t know the details of this story.” It really doesn’t matter that much to me, though I’m sure it does to the person involved. You, on the other hand lashed out at the “us” and our government with such vitriol that I felt compelled to respond.

            People are people, everywhere. I’m just an orchestral musician, trying to do my best. I have no power over war mongering or “selling/hustling junk.” If you don’t like the Boston Pops, don’t buy their CD’s. If you don’t like Bloomberg Law, don’t subscribe.

            Please, for your own good, try not to fill your heart and mind with hatred for millions of people you don’t know. It’s not healthy. I wish you the best on the rest of your journey.

      • Bone says:

        I’m sure your state-owned media are free of charge

      • Curvy Honk Glove says:

        Well, we gotta pay for NATO somehow

  • DAVID says:

    There is indeed a lot of truth to this claim (although it is far from being confined to the violin) in that the path to a competitive and professional level in violin-playing is paved with psychologically taxing, abusive and often destructive rites of passage which many never quite recover from and still carry into late adulthood. The book “Producing Excellence” by Izabela Wagner captures very well the reality of the violin world and its attendant toxic, intermingled web of teachers, competitions, violin dealers, presenters and — it must be said — parents who project their own unfulfilled fantasies onto their own children. It is not a pretty picture, but remains nevertheless remarkably accurate.

    • Inaustria says:

      You may very well be correct, however I too believe that the stresses you describe are not restricted to the violin. Any young musician will experience this: as a singer you are continuously judged by your appearance at least as often as your voice. Combine this with the occasionally sadistic conductor (Ive had a baton thrown at me, my rear end was enthusiastically grabbed, etc, etc, etc) and there you have it. But honestly in my opinion it is part of the job of any musician : you ARE your instrument and you must develop the strength to deal with criticism, justified or not. PTSD? Sorry for this colleague, but learn to live with it or change jobs.

    • Couperin says:

      So everyone who makes those sacrifices to do what they love should sue?

    • Sharon says:

      There was an Israeli film about this recently (I forget the name). Grandparents wanted to make a violin prodigy out of a deaf child.

  • Elroy says:

    And yet another subscription site…

  • Pianofortissimo says:

    Has any stressed violinist tried a therapeutic upgrade to playing the viola?

  • The View from America says:

    Well, we can give fair dues at least for the novelty factor …

  • Paul Brownsey says:

    “my lived experience”

    What other sort of experience could there possibly be besides lived experience? What could it mean to talk about your unlived experience?

    This phrase is a piece of gush-talk that needs flushing away.

  • David Rowe says:

    I wish Mr. Lev all the best as he seems a really warm, kind-hearted soul. (That said, he’d best hope the insurance lawyers don’t discover this YouTube Tchaikovsky clip; the excellent violinist in that 2018 performance sure doesn’t seem to be suffering in any respect!)

  • NYCgirl says:

    I really enjoyed the Tchaikovsky! Thanks for including the clip.

  • Roman says:

    Quite enjoyable performance actually, quite a talented [insert a gender you prefer here]. What I don’t understand is why orchestra has to pay to someone who is not performing from 2018 and it is not orchestra’s fault? And why such pathetic requests too often come from LGBTQ+?

    • Occamsrazor says:

      Roman, gay people are just like everyone else, some are smart while others are not. Most are brainwashable like everyone else alive today. Their alphabet list of conditions has been collectively used by the establishment for pushing all kinds of envelopes. Too many of them have abandoned common sense for promises of ever-increasing acceptance which has already mutated into a de facto gay dictatorship over the political and cultural discourse. Way too many of them are irreversibly addicted to this power which has recently all but cemented completely. The best tangible way of experiencing absolute power is not to make people affirm that 2+2=4 but to make them grovel so shamefully that they agree to declare that 2+2=5. The main feature of any totalitarian regime is making people accept things that are not factually true. Nazis made their subjects agree with their mad racial theories, Soviet Union insisted that people accept the possibility of creating a paradise on earth. The current flu situation is clearly a dictatorship with elaborate meaningless rituals and abandonment of science. To accept that various libidinal oddities are lifestyles instead of diagnoses is to succumb to a dictatorship that unfortunately doesn’t have a meaningful ending built into it. It started by abandoning science to lessen discrimination. Lessening discrimination is a valid goal that must have logical limits like everything else and it cannot be purchased at the cost of destroying the notion of scientific fact. One instance of abandoning reason creates a precedent which rapidly destroys the entire paradigm the way a prion entering a brain starts to reprogram the neurons to the inevitable mad cow end. The consequences of this philosophical prion can heard in the reasoning of Cuomo who said without blinking that every human life is priceless and we must destroy our economies to potentially save the minuscule number of patients who are in their 80s with several deadly illnesses already. Save them we cannot, we may theoretically prolong their lives a little bit. Meanwhile millions of patients have been denied care and scheduled surgeries due to hospitals supposedly throwing all the resources at the current flu, not to mention the epidemic of suicide, psychological emergencies, substance abuse and divorce rates going through the roof and the least forgivable of all which is the already irreparable psychological damage to the children. But Cuomo thinks that the last few weeks of terminal elderly people being free from seasonal flu are worth it. Individual concerns and interests cannot be priceless. American way of life and the American constitution are priceless. They gave the mad far-left the inalienable rights to achieve reasonable goals at first. Now they are trying to use their God-given rights to deprive the entire American nation (including themselves) of ours. Vegetarianism, fitness and surfing are examples of lifestyles, while substance abuse is better described as a death style. Neither heterosexuality nor homosexuality are lifestyles. This demagoguery that started in 1960s seems harmless only to superficial minds. To abandon one tiny scientific fact is to negate them all and to join millions of former humans, the current strange creatures who are not different from schizophrenics for all intents and purposes. Their legal status by now is exactly the same as that of severely mentally ill, their opinions are not taken into account, they are locked in their homes and various facilities, their freedom of assembly is gone and so is the freedom to travel. Soon they will be medicated against their will with a vaccine with undisclosed ingredients like court- mandated violent mental patients receiving shots of Haldol. They completely deserve it because no sane person abandons sanity and joins the insane for any reason even to save ones oh, such priceless life. Some mildly insane people choose to act sanely and go thru life among the sane, the way one acts and talks determines the legal status. The underlying insanity in the case of such normal-functioning people is their private problem. On the other hand , a perfectly sane person choosing to act and talk insane will be correctly categorized as insane even if his motivation is egoism and cowardice. There are actions for which no excuses can be accepted. By the way, the main purpose of the Nuremberg tribunal aside from the obvious hanging satisfaction was establishing forever not only the right but the responsibility of individuals to refuse carrying out criminal and immoral orders so the humanity would never again stand in front of piles of corpses and listen to the pathetic “I was just following orders” excuse. The idea of the pricelessness of individual lives is not some idealistic demagoguery by Cuomo whose eyes betray a clinically unhinged personality. It’s an ideological weapon of mass destruction. This idea can only gain traction among the current generation of completely pussyfied people. Even in the mid 20th century it would’ve been problematic to find enough such pathologically egotistical cowards for this diabolical idea to take hold. Now we observe billions of priceless people happily accepting schizophrenia with all the inevitable legal ramifications as a viable trade off to enjoy another day, indefinitely locked up and unemployed, in front of their TV and a trough of msg-laced junk food bought with helicopter money.

      • Marge O. says:

        The central problem were its people. Even the smart ones were stupid. A buffoon people produced a buffoon ‘culture’ and made buffoon decisions. de Toqueville noted no difference of opinions, a hustling/huckstering ‘culture’, and everything reduced to how much money can we get from it. Anti-intellectualism in the american way of life-Richard Hofstadter-the puritans hatred of intelligent people, institutions, music–rather, the spirit and a smile mattered much more. 330million used car salesmen and more on the way… 2020 will be like a candy store compared to 2021. Stupidity excites me-Vidal.

      • Fritz VonWeggenheim says:

        That’s a clear description of the Left generally speaking.

        • Marge O. says:

          In the us empire, the left, the right, whatever–did not matter. They were all the same. They were americans were incredibly stupid–even the “smart” ones. america was their religion (Bellah). It was about getting money and expansion. That’s it. The historical record of 400yrs+ provides these facts.
          The us-ians were overwhelmingly yankee doodly dandys all waiting for their ships of riches to come in. Freedome jus’ around the corner…(McDougall).

          Two arms on the same monster. They were “patriots” who ruled by war, aggression, sanctions, and excellent propaganda. How else would 98.7% of the 330M used car salesmen (us-ians) think that they were “free” and “live” in the bestest most amazing place ever……They looked reality in the eye, and deny it. americans NEVER learn, it was part of their charm. (Vidal). That explains quite a bit.

          • American says:

            You write the same comment over and over. You believe I am a used car salesman, even though I’ve dedicated myself to my art. You say “they were Americans were incredibly stupid” which I think I understand, despite your bad grammar.

            It really seems personal with you, but I can’t imagine why. Have you ever travelled outside your home? I have. I’ve lived in 3 different countries and travelled all over the world on tour. If you met me, saw me, heard me play, I don’t think you’d hate me. Even if you told me you were Marge O., American-hater, I would probably be very respectful.

            Americans are some of the most generous people on the planet. But go ahead and keep looking for an excuse to attack. You must be a real charmer with your loved ones.

          • Marge O. says:

            Morris Berman–Why america FAILED

  • CA says:

    The musician is still at least listed on the SFSO roster. So theoretically he is still attached to the job causing him trauma. Yet he’s apparently working as a mental health counselor per his LinkedIn profile, and probably for a lot less salary than the orchestra. Will be interesting to see the eventual ruling on this….especially since the musician apparently still played the violin for a little while after having changed gender.

  • marcus mauger says:


  • Roger Funk says:

    Eliot you are an incredible human being as you are a consummate virtuoso.

  • J Barcelo says:

    So sue Putin. Only in San Francisco…
    I suppose (s)he could take up conducting.

  • Dave T says:

    Can’t play the violin because of PTSD? What.
    C’mon, man, grow a pair.

  • Sharon says:

    As a non musician it amazes me how the world of classical, which to the audience is so genteel and refined, and indeed provides so much psychological heeling to so many, has such a dark side.

    As a psychiatric nurse I know that one of the keys to emotional maturity is the ability to accept other people as they are with all their faults and vulnerabilities.

    • Inaustria says:

      Genteel and refined? Have you ever read the comments in an online opera forum? “Opera lovers” can be incredibly cruel. People who never stood on a stage themselves… Talk about a dark side….

    • Occamsrazor says:

      Sharon, like I said, I don’t care about various sexual oddities. I care about doctors. Those of them willing to remote perfectly healthy body parts for money and because of the political agenda. Someone said something like imagine that a war was declared but nobody came to fight it. Imagine, the transgender madness enacted into law and not one doctor willing to butcher people who could instead be helped by a short course of small amounts of major tranquilizers.

    • Occamsrazor says:

      Sharon, since you have a medical background, let me remind you that today if a woman goes to a doctor and tells him that she wants to look like a man, she will be cheerfully prescribed androgenic steroids. If a guy goes to a doctor and tells him that he wants to look better in the mirror and asks for the same drugs, he will be reminded of the current penal code. So as you see, we now have two different penal codes, the same substances freely available to mentally ill people who are obviously a danger to themselves and somewhat likely a danger to society and another penal code putting in jail perfectly normal dudes for the same thing.

    • Ashu says:

      Better to delete “as a psychiatric nurse”, since this is certainly not a characteristic of the guild.

    • Helen Tujardo says:

      In the arts there are many people who lean to the left. By nature they are incapable of accepting others and openly hate those who do not agree with or cater to them.

      In your line of work you see numerous types like this as patients.

      More recently those types believed the pandemic to be less important than their fragile egos. Those warped people had episodes involving mass rioting, tearing down statues as well as using both destruction and violence justifying their unhinged acts as “reparations” of sorts asserting their privilege in believing businesses and private citizens had insurance. They just wanted to steal and take from others to feel good about their lack of mental stability.

      They endangered the public during their own government’s orders to quarantine and more should have been arrested. Glad law enforcement is going after these criminals and organizers in sweeps!

  • James Weiss says:

    If you can’t do your job you don’t get paid. Here endeth the lesson.

    • Occamsrazor says:

      James, if you really believe this then you are a flat-Earther, a heartless troglodyte and I would venture a guess that you could be…Russian…your own own backwardness made me use the R-word. Crawl back into your cave, nothing to debate here, troll, etc and etc, improvise your own mouth-frothing ad hominem cadenza.

      • James Weiss says:

        Ad hominem? May I introduce you to the kettle, Mr. Pot?

        • Occamsrazor says:

          James, I hope you understand that I was being sarcastic as always. I’m the blackest of pots, entirely covered in layers of caked soot of decades worth of political incorrectness.

  • Curvy Honk Glove says:

    And this, ladies and gentlemen, is how progressive ideologies will burn everything down. I’m gonna go out and pick up some marshmallows for the bonfire. Otherwise, Let the grievance hunger games begin! Whomever is left standing, please turn out the lights on your way out.

  • Samuel T. says:

    Genuine question, because this article does not go into depth about why an insurance company owes him… PTSD from what? Insurance payments? Studying the violin? The SF Symphony? Did they treat him disrespectfully? I experienced PTSD from faculty in the music school I attended. I have PTSD from discrimination my previous job, but I live in a right-to-work state. I couldn’t afford a lawyer to begin with and the state courts would dismiss my case.

  • BRomberg says:

    Well… Musicians are popping beta-blockers like PEZ, often at the recommendation of private teachers, especially for orchestral auditions. Some supplement with alcohol. Forms of PTSD are prevalent in the industry- some folks lose it during the audition, others have a panic attack and might even cancel/not show up. It’s psychology tough to win an orchestral job, and then to also go through the tenure-approval process, which could also leave you without a job in the end.