Philadelphia pianist is arrested on sex assault charges

Philadelphia pianist is arrested on sex assault charges


norman lebrecht

April 09, 2021

A Philadelphia court has ordered a former Temple University professor to face trial for sexual assault.

A student claimed that Mikhail Yanovitsky, 56, fondled her last year as she practiced piano in a Temple classroom. He then obliged her to touch him sexually.

Grim report here.

Yanovitsky, originally from St Petersburg, previously taught at  Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago. He is a designated Steinway Artist.



  • Rogerio says:

    From: Steinway
    To: Mr. Lebrecht

    Thanks a lot.

  • CA says:

    It’s really disgusting how prevalent this kind of behavior is in this industry. It even happened to my grandmother in England when she studied piano.

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      The answer is breathtakingly simple. CCTV in all musical studios. No private lessons in the home.

  • Karl says:

    He admits the encounter happened but claims it was consensual. She claims he touched her inappropriately as far back as 2017 but never reported it to the school. How do you prove or disprove consent in these cases? Maybe there has to be a third party present. The Pence rule is never to be alone with a woman who is not a spouse.

    • MT says:

      Well, well, what have we here? Karl runs to the defense of another man accused of anything ever! I did not see that coming!

    • henry williams says:

      when is it all going to stop. it seems on the increase

    • Seen this too many times says:

      The Pence rule should be “don’t have sexual contact with your subordinates, consensual or otherwise”. Like I’m sure this student was waiting in her practice room, just hoping that a professor would wander in and initiate an intimate encounter.

      Unfortunately this kind of behavior happens much too often in music schools.

    • MWnyc says:

      She claims he started touching her in 2018 in a way that made her uncomfortable (and she told him so), but at that point she evidently didn’t think it was serious enough to be worth escalating the situation.

      From the article: “She testified the behavior didn’t escalate to fondling until the Feb. 5, 2020, incident. Three days later, she reported the incident to Philadelphia police. Two days after that, she testified, she told Temple officials.”

    • BRUCEB says:

      If you believe that women are likely to make false accusations, then the Pence rule is probably a good rule for you.

      • Karl says:

        Studies show that between 1% and 90% of accusations are false. In other words we know it happens but have no real idea how often. Four of our last five US Presidents have been accused.

        • BRUCEB says:

          Turn that around and it says “10-99% of accusations are true.”

          Which means that, if others have no grounds for claiming that accusations are mostly true, you also have no grounds for assuming that accusations are false.

  • MT says:

    Karl, after so many years of seeing your contributions to SD, I hope you’ll pardon my familiarity and directness with you. This all comes from a place of compassion.

    In previous comments, you’ve explained that you were once falsely accused of sexual assault. The women trying to get revenge against you for doing the right thing were believed, and you weren’t, which led to the loss of your job. That was enormously traumatic for you, I understand. It would be for anyone.

    Since that time, you’ve armed yourself with data to support your contention that women lie about sexual assault. You’re ready with links to articles that show that false accusations could be as high as 90%.

    I want to draw your attention to one thing, since you’re obviously a smart guy. According to your comment above, “we know it happens but have no real idea how often.” However, every time the issue of sexual abuse comes up on this blog, you take the stance that women are lying 100% of the time. At worst, it’s 90%, right? How do you know every case falls into the same category as what happened to you?

    It’s true that people are sometimes falsely accused. You have every right to tell your story, but you can’t assume every one of the people accused in these other instances is innocent.

    I have my trauma, too. We all do. But that terrible thing that happened–that dark moment–doesn’t have to define you or your worth as a human being. All these years later, you’re still having an emotional reaction, getting triggered by every one of these stories. To me, that shows that you’re not making your way through. Seek another path.

    • Karl says:

      MT, your comment comes from a place of inability to read and comprehend. All I am saying is that people need to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. 100% of people need to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. Even if found guilty many convictions are false. The rate of wrongful convictions in the United States is estimated to be somewhere between 2 percent and 10 percent.

      You obviously have no idea how traumatic it is to be falsely accused. Studies show that people experienced permanent changes to their personality, such as becoming paranoid and anxious, hypervigilant or antagonistic and less confident. Read this horror story. And the piece only tells part of the story. Imagine reading the comments sections on news stories and seeing people say you should be lynched or castrated.