The Cleveland Orchestra announced Wednesday the firing of concertmaster William Preucil -- as well as principal trombonist Massimo La Rosa -- for sexual misconduct, following the release Tuesday of an independent investigation into the charges.
"The investigators found that Mr. Preucil and Mr. La Rosa engaged in sexual misconduct and sexually harassing behavior with multiple female students and colleagues over a period of years while employed by the Orchestra," said a written statement issued by the Cleveland Orchestra. "Moreover, the abusive conduct by both performers was made possible by their positions of power within the Orchestra and in the broader world of classical music."
The full independent investigation report by Debevoise & Plimpton can be found by clicking here.
The report concludes that "based on interviews with students, musicians, and faculty, others with relevant information, and Preucil himself, as well as a review of available documentary evidence, the investigators conclude that Preucil engaged in sexual misconduct or sexually harassing behavior with at least 12 female musicians while he was employed by the Orchestra. Debevoise also received indirect reports that Preucil engaged in misconduct
with eight additional women."
The Cleveland Orchestra said that over the course of two months, investigators interviewed more than 70 people, including members of the Cleveland Orchestra staff, students and colleagues of Preucil and La Rosa, current and former orchestra management, members of the board, and Preucil and La Rosa themselves.
"Mr. Preucil’s and Mr. La Rosa’s conduct was inappropriate, appalling and inconsistent with the expectations we have for the members of our Orchestra, our staff and our board," said Richard K. Smucker, president of the board of the Musical Arts Association. "We believe The Cleveland Orchestra should be a model for respect and trust in the way we treat our musicians, our staff and everyone with whom we work."
"We are grateful to everyone who came forward to help with this investigation and intend to move forward as an orchestra community with a clear resolve to be more responsive and protective of our musicians, staff and anyone with whom our people interact," said André Gremillet, executive director of the Orchestra. "We want to thank the victims for having the courage to come forward, and we are truly sorry about the reprehensible behavior of the two members of The Cleveland Orchestra that caused them so much harm."
Following recommendations by the investigators to revise the orchestra's existing policies, and the orchestra's board approved a revised anti-harassment policy "that makes clear that the Orchestra expressly prohibits all forms and gradations of sexual misconduct and sexually harassing behavior. Clear consequences are outlined for anyone who violates the policy," according to the statement.
The Cleveland Orchestra's investigation was called in August, following the publication in late July of a Washington Post article that describes a 1998 incident involving violinist Zeneba Bowers and Preucil. The article focused on sexual harassment, misconduct and assault in the classical music world. It was not the first time such issues had been raised; allegations of misconduct by Preucil also were outlined more than a decade ago in a 2007 piece called 'Sour Notes' in the Cleveland Scene, which alleges both sexual misconduct and nepotism by Preucil.
Days after the publication of last summer's Washington Post article, Preucil was suspended from the Cleveland Orchestra, then resigned from his position as Distinguished Professor of Violin at the Cleveland Institute a day later.
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