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Violin News & Gossip, Op. 3, No. 14

February 18, 2007 at 6:49 PM

[This piece has been edited since it was first posted. -- Editor.]

2/14/07 – From its very first words, the Cleveland Scene’s article is an attention-grabber:

"Underneath its glossy exterior, the Cleveland Orchestra has a dark side. His name is William Preucil"

(Blame the copy editor, not the reporter, for the hyperbole in the deck... but then keep reading the piece.)

The article has roiled the classical music community in Cleveland, with its accusations of nepotism and sexual harassment against the orchestra's 12-year concertmaster. More than 200 comments have been appended to the article, many attacking it.

Quite a thought-provoking read...

Musician News

2/24/07 – Violinist Peter Winograd, a member of the American String Quartet, will perform the Bruch Violin Concerto (G minor) with the Pueblo (CO) Symphony, reports the Pueblo Chieftain. Winograd’s wife is violinist Caterina Szepes, a member of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.

The Hindu, India’s national newspaper, recently published a profile of the great jazz violinist Jean-Luc Ponty.

2/20/07 – Violinist Judith Ingolfsson will fill in for violinist Marco Rizzi at a special concert of the Ronen Chamber Ensemble in Indianapolis. Ingolfsson, currently a faculty member at the University of Colorado at Boulder, is the 1998 International Violin Competition of Indianapolis Gold Medalist. Rizzi is unable to enter the United States due to visa problems. In a press release, the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis explained the circumstances: “An unfortunate by-product of post-9/11 life is the difficulty that international artists experience when trying to perform in the United States. The IVCI began the visa application process for Marco Rizzi last November. This process is not supposed to take more than three months, and commonly takes less time. Last week, with no word about the visa, IVCI administration appealed to Senator Lugar's office for help. Our Senator was successful in getting Rizzi's visa application approved by the U. S. government this week, and had it wired to the American Embassy office in Germany where Rizzi lives and works. The breakdown occurred at the American Embassy in Germany when they refused to grant the interview or necessary paperwork allowing Rizzi to travel.”

2/14/07 - In La Scena Musicale, Norman Lebrecht profiles violinist Ruth Palmer, who independently recorded Shostakovich's Violin Concerto No. 1. “Ruth Palmer is part of a new phenomenon. Every year, London’s four conservatories turn out 90-100 outstandingly accomplished string players who face an uphill struggle to find a vacant orchestral seat. No change on that front. The more devastating challenge is the one that faces the elite half-dozen among them who have been groomed to be the soloists of the future. These college stars find after the graduation concert that they are too old, at 25, to get a record audition, an agent or a big date. In our cultural fixation with extreme youth and sex appeal, only teenaged competition winners get taken on; the rest have to rummage for crumbs.” Read the article to find out how Palmer made her dream come true.

Orchestra News

The Boston Symphony Orchestra has announced the appointment of two assistant conductors, Julian Kuerti and Shi-Yeon Sung. Kuerti, currently assistant conductor of the Budapest Festival Orchestra, began his training in violin.

The MIT Symphony Orchestra has appointed Adam Kerry Boyles its music director, effective this fall. Boyles is currently music director of the Southern Arizona Symphony.

The Philadelphia Orchestra is bringing together Arab and Jewish musicians for two "Intercultural Journeys" concerts in March. Curated and hosted by Philadelphia Orchestra cellist Ohad "Udi" Bar-David, a native of Israel, these family concerts will feature an Arab-Jewish ensemble of five musicians in collaboration with the orchestra. The program showcases traditional Arab and Jewish music and also highlights the influence of Middle Eastern music on Western classical composers.

2/16/07 – This weekend, the Lancaster (PA) Symphony is presenting a complete performance of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, reports the Lancaster Intelligencer Journal. The soloists--Mauricio Gonzelez (Spring), Michael Jamanis (Summer), Igor Yuzefovich (Autumn), and Odin Rathnam (Winter)—will rotate sitting in the concertmaster’s chair as well. The newspaper offered an entertaining Q&A in which each violinist answered the same questions.

2/15/07 – According to, Berlin's Komische Oper has appointed American Carl St. Clair. “For 17 seasons now St. Clair has headed California's Pacific Symphony, including a noteworthy European tour.”

From Elizabeth R
Posted on February 18, 2007 at 7:19 PM
Well, since "gossip" is apart of your blog name, I am shocked it has taken you this long to report on this article, since GOSSIP is purely ALL it is.

It is full of lies and quotes from a few very jealous members of the orchestra. He is an amazing man, and I would hope you, Darcy, of all people, would be able to see through all of the nonsense in the article. I am a little dissapointed you didnt take that spin on the report.

From parmeeta bhogal
Posted on February 18, 2007 at 7:14 PM
This is just an amusing aside, but I would amend the line "India's national newspaper" to "one of India's national newspapers", otherwise you will be missing out on the larger English dailies of The Times of India (2.4 million copies sold every day, with a readership of 7.4 million!), The Hindustan Times, Indian Express etc. Although that is peanuts compared to just the two largest Hindi dailies with a readership of 22 and 21 million each:)

But a great post as usual, with very interesting links.

From Elizabeth R
Posted on February 18, 2007 at 7:26 PM
Oh, and I believe it's only 'thought provoking' if one doesnt have the knowledge to interpret it in the obvious manner. That being it is all ridiculous.

The thought provoking part of it for me is reading the comment boards and realizing how many immature people there are out there...

From Elizabeth R
Posted on February 18, 2007 at 7:32 PM
One more thing, if your goal was to give a balanced report of the article, why is it you mainly included only negative parts? The article itself actually did a good job of trying to include both sides.
From Amy F.
Posted on February 18, 2007 at 7:40 PM
I'm not sure why you think it's irrelevant to defend Steve Rose, a phenomenal violinist and one of the nicest people I've ever met, who was insulted in a very sleazy and trashy way in this article. Just because that wasn't the main point of the article doesn't make it irrelevant to his students such as myself and other people who know him personally, or have heard him play.
From Patrick Hu
Posted on February 18, 2007 at 9:52 PM
I think it's unfair to bash darcy for her post. She is only reporting the articles that are related to our world of violin playing and classical music. She reads countless articles and puts them together weekly for us members here at We don't thank her enough, and this article IS a very thought-provoking and relevant article in our community. It definetely will affect my views on Mr. Preucil and the CIM, but as always, there are TWO sides to the story.

Anyway, thanks darcy for another great collection of articles.

From Stephen Brivati
Posted on February 18, 2007 at 10:37 PM
thought the article about Mr. Preucil was was basically a lot of unsubtantiated back stabbing.
I am not sure a cocnertmaster could `recuse` themsleves from listenign to certain applicants. His role in selecting string players is crucial.
Rubbing up, lewd advances. Maybe. Who knows? I personally know a very well respected cello teahcer at a top institute who almost had their career ruined becuas eof absolutely untrue accusations by a disturbed student.Not saying it doesn`t happen and shouldn`t be investigated . I just hate to see people gettign smeared without better evidence.
From Stephen Brivati
Posted on February 18, 2007 at 10:42 PM
sorry, no beef with Darcy for pointing out the article. Might as well know what is going on or not as the case probably is,
From Neil Cameron
Posted on February 19, 2007 at 12:26 AM
Elizabeth R aka Colleen, perhaps you'd care to enlighten us how you KNOW all that is reported is "lies". You of course know all the participants personally no doubt...

Not to mention all the inner workings of the orchestra, associated machinations and corresponding goings on at the CIM...

Just because you don't like it and don't want to believe it doesn't necessarily make it untrue.

Thanks Darcy for reporting the story.


From Nicholas Tavani
Posted on February 19, 2007 at 12:33 AM
Buri and Elizabeth are right. "A bunch of unsubstantiated backstabbing" is exactly what it is. That and the clever use of ellipses. It's yellow journalism.

The Cleveland Scene is more known for their sensationalist/agitative bent and crappy writers than their "investigative reporting."

And yes, Neil, I do know the people involved.

From Pieter Viljoen
Posted on February 19, 2007 at 1:39 AM
Neil, as usual you are incredibly uninformed. There are people here who know those involved.
From Jim W. Miller
Posted on February 19, 2007 at 1:40 AM
I've never been to Cleveland, but everywhere I have been, the student body is the private hunting preserve of the male professors.
From Elizabeth R
Posted on February 19, 2007 at 3:01 AM
Neil- First of all, I would appreciate it if you would refer to me as the name on my blog. Thanks.

Second- Yes, I along with others here DO happen to know the people involved. I will not however share with you any private information, because that is none of your business.
It is curious though, how everyone here who do know the situation first hand are on the same side... coincidence? I think not.

Third- Sorry, Darcy, i think you understand i was not trying to 'bash' you, i am just very frustruated, and i along with a few other members had high hopes that you would take a positive spin on it. You do an amazing job on here for other stuff though, so thank you for that. You are very much appreciated :)

From Laurie Niles
Posted on February 19, 2007 at 4:38 AM
Indeed, I think when these kinds of articles come out, this community needs to be aware of them.

I also think this community can rally around people and help the larger world understand the one we live in. For example, part of the reason musicians are on audition committees is to ensure a certain compatibility between musicians. We don't make widgets. Is it nepotism? Geez, sometimes it's even harder to prove yourself when a friend or relative is on the committee. I don't know what the case was, but...there are certainly many issues.

Shall we start a discussion?

From Jude Ziliak
Posted on February 19, 2007 at 4:57 AM
This may be a politically incorrect question, but I wonder what exactly those who take CIM to task over its (rumored) handling of the (alleged) harassment believe what would have been preferable?
Had the case been brought into the open, the young woman could easily have lost years to a legal battle, which might easily have failed anyway. Perhaps they believe that Mr. Preucil should have been fired; lacking any real evidence, though, that view is hard to sustain.
From Christina Wilke
Posted on February 19, 2007 at 6:16 AM
I am a student at CIM and I can't comment on the allegations or anything of that sort. It's not my place and only those that were partisan to those events (putting it in VERY technical terms there) can really know what happened.

However, I will stand up and defend Steven Rose, one of the finest violinists I've ever met and an incredible teacher, and CIM in general. While every school has it's pitfalls (for Cleveland, it's the weather and the fact that it's in, well, Cleveland), I have loved my four years there. I've never felt anything but guidance and support from all of the faculty members and administration. I believe this article did not do a good job at representing the CIM administration in this way- even people like Susan Schwartz, head of Marketing (and a former boss of mine, a magnificent and caring person) were made to seem like they were all conspirators.

Take this article with a grain of salt. None of us can know what really happenend, not with any proof, although we'll always have our beliefs. I don't take allegations of sexual harassment lightly, but I don't take every word I hear in the Cleveland Scene to be fact. Especially when it comes to character battles over very undeserving individuals, such as those aformentioned.

From Patrick Hu
Posted on February 19, 2007 at 6:59 AM
Hey elizabeth, I guess I should have picked a better word than "bash", because I do understand where your frustrations were coming from....especially since you know personally the people involved in this article. Oh, and in no way was I trying to "bash" you in any sort, i just wanted to give darcy my thanks for doing her wonderful job week after week.
From Bram Heemskerk
Posted on February 19, 2007 at 9:59 AM
Great, you write about Jean-Luc Ponty. I have the elpee Cosmic Messenger from 1977 and also elpees of Mahavishnu Orchestra. In my lunchbreak I will read the article.
From Neil Cameron
Posted on February 19, 2007 at 11:38 AM
LOL, I love stirring a hornets nest. Or to put it another way, sorry Colleen, but someone needed to be devil's advocate. :)


From Neil Cameron
Posted on February 19, 2007 at 11:46 AM
Oh and seeing some, like Pieter, suffer reading disabilities, it's worth pointing out that I didn't say the accusation were true. I simply stated that not liking something doesn't make it untrue.

Therefore instead of emotional tirades directed at Darcy or the article's author, perhaps people should look to refuting any of the claims they disagree with a more reasoned and sensible approach. May I suggest facts?


From Ihnsouk Guim
Posted on February 19, 2007 at 1:53 PM
To me, the most disturbing aspect of the allegation is the alleged sexual haarassment. Studies often show there are far more cases that go unreported than false fabrication of the indident.

I am gullable and I believe whatever I hear and I would very much like to have someone dispute the facts. To come out against someone so prominent and be false, what would it take? Total derangement of the presumed victim? It was consentual? Nothing really didn't happen, there exists really no such female as cited? That's all I can think of now, and none of them sounds convincing except the consentual argument. On some campuses, even consentual incidents are not allowed between faculty and students. That may or may not be at CIM, I wouldn't know. The reason is obviously a consent could be pressured in an unequal relationship such as this.


From John Baker
Posted on February 19, 2007 at 2:15 PM
I would like to add my thanks to those who recognise Darcy’s hard work each day to bring us the news that’s Fit from the Violin world. But it is disturbing when stories and allegations, substantiated or not, begin circulating as to the self-centered “power plays” and moves with even lower motives by certain highly placed persons. It’s not that these thing DON’T happen, but the naïve among us are shocked while the cynical see it as “another day on the job.”
In my own young and Naïve days I thought that Musicians were better than mere mortals, because we had accomplished so much that is special and above the average Muck and Mire. It did not take long to give up these ideas when I entered the world of professional musicians as adults.
After many years of teaching and playing, I was never party to any abuse of power or salacious allegations of any kind of harassment, at least not to my knowledge, but I can say that whenever I have heard the gossipy rumors about someone I held in high regard, whether there was any evidence of such allegations, it poisoned my mind about this person, and forever changed my attitude about that person’s integrity. I had to work overtime to not harbor the least of negative thoughts. It’s like the allegorical description of the damage that Gossip and Rumor cause. While on top of a hill, let all the feathers out of a pillow, then try as hard as you like you can never retrieve each and every one of those feathers.
Who benefits from this kind of reporting about Mr. Preucil and allegations of his doings at CIM and CSO? It depends on if you are trying to begin a career as a “Journalist,” gain circulation of an essentially free newspaper, or if you are seeking revenge for wrongs imagined or real. But it clears the air to think on this: “All have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God.” It helps me to not look at myself as being more than I really am, and give grace to others.
I still appreciate the efforts by Darcy and Laurie, keep the good work.
From Karin Lin
Posted on February 19, 2007 at 10:41 PM
I don't know the Preucils, and I don't deny that allegations of sexual harassment deserve to be taken seriously. However, Rebecca Meiser's article is sloppy, sensationalist journalism. She quotes liberally from anonymous sources, interjects irrelevant information (Bill Preucil plays poker??? What a horrible person he must be!), and is sloppy about fact-gathering, as many in the comments have noted with regard to Preucil's salary. Perhaps there are things about the Cleveland orchestra and CIM's handling of sexual harassment allegations that need to be changed or at least examined...I don't know. But my impression upon reading this article is that Meiser knew what she wanted to write before she even began her research, and such lack of journalistic integrity does a serious disservice to this family that has given much to the musical community.
From Geoff Herd
Posted on February 20, 2007 at 3:46 AM
I am disgusted that this website would allow such disgusting disgrace of an article to be posted. You are just providing free advertisement for this trashy tabloid. For those of you who think this is doing some sort of service to the "community," you are wrong.
From Laurie Niles
Posted on February 20, 2007 at 5:13 AM
Ignoring it does not make it go away.

Darcy's role on this website is to gather news that is occurring in the violin world, and the publication of this article in the Cleveland Scene is certainly something that has roiled the community in Cleveland.

One of the strengths of this community is that we have voices that can put a story like this in the proper perspective, and many have. But censoring the story doesn't make it go away and doesn't serve anyone in this community.

From Karin Lin
Posted on February 20, 2007 at 5:37 AM
I appreciate Darcy's calling attention to this article, as it is certainly relevant to the violin community. Perhaps the objections here are more related to her choice to quote large parts of the article, as opposed to simply providing a link, as well as her "comments on the comments". As a columnist, Darcy is certainly entitled to give her opinion on the news she reports, and it appears that her opinion in this case runs against many of those on
From Laurie Niles
Posted on February 20, 2007 at 6:28 AM
Upon reflection, I decided to tighten up the summary of the article that appeared in the Cleveland Scene. The link remains.
From Christina Wilke
Posted on February 20, 2007 at 6:46 AM
While I do believe that this articlce is more suited for a tabloid and is certainly sensationalist, we can't censure the media. We can't pretend like it didn't happen. It's sadly a big thing that has come up in the music world. It would be more of a disservice for Darcy to bring it up, which there's no way she could ignore it, and then to not give a link to the story so you could get all of the "facts". If this were an article about Britney Spears, I don't think anyone would be having these violent reactions. It is hard when the people that are mentioned in the article are ones that are familiar and known to many of us, but it doesn't make it go away.

Thank you Darcy for including it in the column, although I do disagree with your assessment. Unfortunately, this article does nothing but stir a pot of controversy. Much of this article can not be fully validated due to confidentiality clauses and what not, so it is better to be cautious in our reviews of the article and it's content. Perhaps the column could maintain its impartiality, as you have so expertly made so in the past. I do thank you (Darcy) for all you've done bringing us the news in the music world, no matter how painful or badly written it is (that is, the article's writing).

And please, I don't think any of us should jump on any one else's back. Many people don't have a lot of the facts and don't know the teachers involved, so it's hard for them to see it as those who live in Cleveland do. But we can't yell at them for being incompetent or ignorant- they are just reacting to what they've read. This site is supposed to be supportive- if you've got something to say, be kind about it. The writer of the column and others are free to share their opinions, whether we like it or not. If you disagree with it, state why and leave it at that. In the end, agreeing to disagree is what can keep this a community. Let's not split into factions in the way that it seems the Cleveland music community has.

From Ihnsouk Guim
Posted on February 20, 2007 at 11:49 AM
Karin, just imagine for a minute that the allegation is true and the subject is your own daughter for whom you did everything to get good enough to be admitted at CIM. Now she doesn't have a fair shot at her career because some dude made an unwanted advance. Surely, you wished happiness for your daughter which doesn't include exploitative intimate relationships.

Mr. Preucil is a widely available teacher. I briefly entertained the idea of taking my own daughter to him a while ago. CIM has the obligation to make sure there are no more victims if this is true.

Someone please tell me that this is untrue, that Mr Preucil may have an affair with his female colleague but never engages in a predatory relationship with a student. I don't need details. Thanks.


From Elizabeth R
Posted on February 20, 2007 at 9:56 PM
I can tell you by fact that it is most definately not true. You have nothing to worry about if you want your daughter to go there. This is all a bunch of silly tabloid stuff, its discusting that so many people have obsessed over it, and fallen into the media tricks of believing it.

Laurie-- Thank You. You definately did the right thing. Coming from my situation, I especially appreciate it. You have just renewed my respect for! :D

From Ihnsouk Guim
Posted on February 21, 2007 at 1:33 PM
It was an idle thought and I don't plan to take her anywhere. I just quoted that to make a point that it's not hard to do.

I am sorry to hear that this is affecting you personally. Without meaning to rejuvniate the issue, I have to say that if the incident is unfortunately true, it is the event itself that is sensational not where or how the account is written up. Not because we are high brow pruds but because the trust we assume is betrayed. I think we have a good reason to be upset and the right to know.


From Gennady Filimonov
Posted on February 21, 2007 at 9:27 PM
I know several people in the orchestra, and the allegations are right on target.
As far as auditions go, yes they do not audition behind a screen as does the rest of the country.
Fair? or unfair? You be the judge.
There is good reason why that tradition has been implemented across the do away with unfair practice.
There is no doubt that Mr. Preucil is one of the best concertmasters around. Yet the complaints people in his orchestra have, are valid. For he is there as it has been said in the article only 12-14 weeks out of the season. The rest of the article lists factual information regarding salary etc. audition procedures etc.
As far as the teacher-student incident, that has also been confirmed by many colleagues in Cleveland. His personal reply to it was revealing.

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