Just in: Anne Midgette slams Cleveland for sex discrimination

Just in: Anne Midgette slams Cleveland for sex discrimination


norman lebrecht

May 08, 2023

The former Washington Post music critic has turned down an honorary doctorate from the Cleveland Institute of Music after finding that it was soft-pedalling gender-discrimination issues.

Anne writes:
On May 20, 2023, I was supposed to receive an honorary doctorate from the Cleveland Institute of Music and deliver the commencement address. Unfortunately and with regret, I feel compelled to decline this honor.

Obviously this is not a decision I’ve made lightly. But CIM is in the middle of an investigation concerning sex-based discrimination, known as Title IX (some of which has been documented on Norman Lebrecht’s website, Slipped Disc, and in the Chicago Tribune in an article by Hannah Edgar). Over the last few weeks, a number of students and faculty have reached out to me, many of them anonymously, and spoken to me to tell me their versions of what’s going on.

The school has now hired an outside law firm to conduct an investigation, as is right and proper, and I look forward to the full situation being revealed and properly dealt with in the next few months.

However, regardless of what the investigation determines, I am not convinced, based on my many conversations, that CIM has acted in the best interests of its students and faculty, and I am therefore uncomfortable appearing to support the leadership of the institution at this particular time. I believe that I was chosen for this recognition not least for my work in addressing #MeToo in the classical music world; and I am thus especially unwilling to have my name linked to a situation in which many women I spoke to feeling unheard, afraid and angry in precisely the ways that my coauthor Peggy McGlone and I tried so hard to address in our 2018 Washington Post story.

I am not currently a full-time journalist, which means I don’t have to present this story in a way that I would if I were preparing it for print, or reveal the names of my sources, even if I knew all of them. I simply have had to satisfy myself that I was getting an accurate picture of the situation and that I am acting in accordance with my conscience, and I am more than satisfied on both those counts.

I didn’t know a great deal about CIM when I was approached about this honor. In the past weeks, however, I have developed a very high opinion of CIM’s students and faculty. They deserve to be heard and supported. I hope and believe that they will take this gesture as a greater show of solidarity than my appearing in person could have been.


  • guest says:

    Why is Cleveland Institute of Music giving Midgette an honorary doctorate???? Clearly they have got more problems than gender-discrimination.

  • Mock Mahler says:

    Anne Midgette. Always ready to Take a Stand.

  • Abbie Conant says:

    Good for Anne. One of her very first articles as a journalist over 30 years ago was about my experiences with egregious sexism in the Munich Philharmonic. It was in a small English-language expat magazine called Munich Found. –Abbie Conant

    • La plus belle voix says:

      My god, get over it Abie. Move on. And get a life.

      • anonymous says:

        Looked her up after your nasty remark… She endured a 4 year legal battle with the City Of Munich which claimed “The plaintiff does not possess the necessary physical strength to be a leader of the trombone section; she is not in the position to clearly lead the trombone group”

  • samach says:

    A much more powerful move would’ve been to accept the invitation…and deliver the exact same message to the face of the administration, in front of the entire faculty, and all the graduates and their parents.

    But that would take killer instincts and nerves of steel, including if the administration decided to pull the plug on her mic (it’s happens!), and or escort her off the stage.

    But the press coverage would’ve been out of this world if she had been censored! And her message that much more amplified.

    Of course if she is wrong, she would also be sued for defamation big time, so there’s also that…

  • Anonymous says:

    “I didn’t know a great deal about CIM when I was approached about this honor” – which makes you wonder why these stupid prizes exist to begin with.

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      I’m just interested in “I didn’t know”. I’m guessing this is the tip of a very big ideological iceberg.

  • James Weiss says:

    Spare me. I once called out Midgette for her failure to report on James Levine for years when she and all the other East Coast critics knew exactly what was going on. She is late to the MeToo parade. This all smacks of way too late virtue signaling.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yep, had a similar experience. Opportunist extraordinaire. Nothing groundbreaking or brave with her.

  • Anonymous says:

    “Acting in accordance with my conscience” is Midgett-speak for “doing whatever gets me the most attention.”

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      She should run back home, into the arms of her ideological confederates at WAPO. That way she’ll be protected from absolutely everything!! Imagination the first thing.

  • Guest says:

    Being an unnoticed WaPo critic (and unknowledgeable if she didn’t know about CIM) until she began broadcasting rumors, what exactly, is she getting an “honorary” doctorate for? Ruining some great careers without due process?

  • Anonymous says:

    “Acting in accordance with my conscience” is Midgette-speak for “doing whatever gets me the most attention.”

  • Karden says:

    James Weiss: “This all smacks of way too late virtue signaling.”

    So much is filtered through people’s cultural-political prism, that one person’s truths may be another person’s lies. Or visa versa.

    Midgette may be objective enough to judge a person or situation very honestly and accurately. Or she may not be. Same idea applies to everyone.

  • Simon says:

    Translation: “I am virtuous and honorable. Praise me”

  • Norabide Guziak says:

    Spare me the sanctimonious Dünnschiß. Where were you and your ilk when Levine was abusing young boys, eh? You all knew and you stayed silent to protect your own careers. Get lost.

    • Carl says:

      Many critics and journalists tried to nail Levine. There wasn’t publicly available evidence (police reports, arrest warrants, etc.) and none of his victims or accomplices were coming forward. Without evidence, a reporter can’t simply accuse people of wrongdoing, however much the rumor mill churns.

      • william osborne says:

        Before Levine was accepted as the GMD of the Munich Philharmonic, members of the city council were concerned about his history. The city thus required that he show his police record before employing him. It was clean, so he was given the job. Problem is, the US police didn’t know what he had done.

  • Alexander says:

    Good for Anne. I believe her decision is both gracious and full of integrity. I attended CIM nearly 20 years ago. I am grateful for the education I received, but with so many scandals that have come to light over the years, (this only being the most recent one), would never send my daughter to study there. There is a culture which I find backwards and provincial regarding gender equality, fairness and abuse of power, both at the Cleveland Orchestra and CIM, and I hope that someday, these can be addressed.

  • MMcGrath says:

    Sanctimonious Dünnschiss! Couldn’t have said it better myself! Danke!

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    Oh, turn the bloody record over PLEASE!! The lack of sociological imagination is such that she can continue prosecuting that and other rigidly ideological cases at the WAPO.

  • Words Matter says:

    “… documented on Norman Lebrecht’s website, Slipped Disc, and in the Chicago Tribune in an article by Hannah Edgar.”

    Really? Sort of like claiming that the Bible proves the Bible.

  • Elise de Verne says:

    This page is such a very rich tapestry of her extraordinary modesty as she describes her books.


    and indeed, has CIM run out of musicians?

  • Evan Tucker says:

    For god’s sake enough already. Whistleblowers are never pure but do you really think she’s doing this for attention when half the attention she gets is insults? If most of the commenters here got half of the insults she got they’d slink away from any kind of spotlight for the rest of their lives. You all can at least insult her using your own names.

    • guest says:

      Unlike her, we do not sell personal opinions for a living.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes she is doing it for the attention, and insults only fuel her. She spent years at WAPO criticizing singers’ appearances and outfits (she never achieved the vocal career she dreamed of), denigrating the composers she reviewed and being a general nuisance whose goal seemed to be to reduce ticket sales.

      This is just typical Anne.

  • La plus belle voix says:

    Possibly the most tiresome Moralapostel in the industry. Cuts off her nose to spite her face, riding her high horse as ever, to mix metaphors.

  • Couperin says:

    It was fun to take Greg Sandow’s elective course on music criticism at Juilliard when I studied there. As a class exercise he presented an article by his wife (Anne Midgette), and as a class we kind of tore it apart. I wish I could remember which article it was. But I do remember the teacher being a bit embarrassed and telling us he would ask her about the piece. Haha. Even then we could see she was kind of a hack. Besides, I’m sure the student body at CIM REALLY CARES about her pulling out, as they win jobs in major symphonies after receiving a fine musical education there. If you can’t play, teach, if you can’t teach, become a critic!

    • Nydo says:

      I recall a couple of reviews from her early days at the New York Times, one in which she referred to “the archaic sound of the awakening oboe” at the beginning of the Rite of Spring (Barenboim, Chicago Symphony), and another of Philadelphia and Eschenbach, in which she referred to the end of Mahler’s Third Symphony: “and its towering climax, extended almost beyond endurance over the bulls-eye strikes of the bass drum, a fittingly monumental — and meaningful — conclusion.” Anyone with basic training and the ability to read a score would know that the Rite of Spring starts with a bassoon solo, and the end of Mahler’s Third Symphony has no bass drum part, but two sets of Tympani. She wasn’t musically competent, yet she was reviewing the major orchestras of the world for one of the top newspapers. She wasn’t qualified.

  • Trying to cope says:

    Thank you Anne!