Cleveland Orchestra to Investigate William Preucil Sexual Misconduct Allegations

August 16, 2018, 12:03 PM · The Cleveland Orchestra's Board of Trustees announced today that it has formed a special committee to conduct an independent investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct by violinist William Preucil, who has served as the orchestra's concertmaster since 1995. They have also selected a law firm to conduct an investigation into Preucil's tenure with the orchestra.

"We take the recent report of sexual misconduct allegations against concertmaster William Preucil very seriously. As previously indicated, we have suspended Mr. Preucil as of July 27, 2018," said a statement issued Thursday by the Cleveland Orchestra.

William Preucil
Violinist William Preucil.

Regarding the composition of the committee, the statement said: "David J. Hooker (former Managing Partner of Thompson Hine LLP) is chair of the committee; Alexander Cutler (former Chair and CEO of Eaton Corporation), Stephen Hoffman (President of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland), Loretta J. Mester (President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland) and Beth E. Mooney (Chair and Chief Executive Officer KeyCorp) serve as members of the committee. They have selected Helen V. Cantwell and Arian M. June from the law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP to investigate Mr. Preucil’s tenure at The Cleveland Orchestra and any other matters that are raised in the course of Debevoise’s work. Upon the conclusion of the review, we will share the key findings."

Preucil resigned from his position as Distinguished Professor of Violin at the Cleveland Institute the day after being suspended from the Cleveland Orchestra.

The suspension and resignation occurred after the publication in late July of an article in the Washington Post that details a 1998 incident involving a violinist named Zeneba Bowers, who was in her mid-20s and a member of the New World Symphony at the time. The article focuses on sexual harassment, misconduct and assault in the classical music world.

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.

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Replies

August 17, 2018 at 02:56 PM · I am just wondering, what will happen if it is not true... Will he get his positions back?

August 17, 2018 at 05:23 PM · Since he has already resigned I suppose the effect to the orchestra is the same either way.

Hopefully the message sent will resonate deeply. This is the best they could hope for.

I doubt anyone is mourning the loss. Any position can be filled.

August 17, 2018 at 07:18 PM · Innocent untill proven guilty. All respect to the alleged victim and adherence to the rule of law and due process. Quite few people's reputation got ruined over allegations and trial by media.

August 17, 2018 at 11:07 PM · Bill Preucil resigned from CIM, not from TCO.

The Washington Post spent months fact-checking that article before printing it, and printed nothing that they could not find at least three independent witnesses for. I suspect that nothing in that article was terribly surprising to any woman in the music world.

August 18, 2018 at 01:08 AM · I really respect him as a violinist and a musician....however this behavior has been known for years. Why wasn’t something done 10 years ago?

August 18, 2018 at 04:55 AM · "however this behavior has been known for years" by whom?

I am now more sceptical, and tend to do not believe people anymore, as one of my former classmates started to tell stories about one of the our professors. And the silly situation is the main episode she remembers now (after 15 years) is 100% miss-interpretation (if not to say worse), i personally was there, and she tries to evolve me now.

She is angry on him, as he did not let her to finish PhD with him back then, due to her low skills and abilities, and after 15 years she suddenly feels as a looser, because she missed the opportunity to get PhD and make her carrier. Now she is looking for someone's fought. It is horrible.

August 18, 2018 at 05:11 AM · Timothy, he has NOT resigned from The Cleveland Orchestra; they have suspended him. He did resign from his post at the Cleveland Institue of Music.

K Ch, there was an incident with a student in 2007 which resulted in the student being paid to go to school elsewhere. See the Cleveland Scene article link under Laurie’s text above. Actually, the link there isn’t helpful, so here is a direct link.

August 18, 2018 at 08:21 AM · Bill, I'm realizing that link was a little misleading, I've relabeled it as our discussion of the Cleveland Scene story. Thank you for providing the link to the story itself as well!

August 19, 2018 at 06:52 PM · This brings an extra-musical meaning to the phrase, "playing Don Juan". Also, men need to learn that some overtures are not welcome.

Larry D

August 20, 2018 at 10:45 AM · I wonder what would have happened to Sir Malcolm Sargent if he'd been conducting today? Not to mention Diaghilev!

August 20, 2018 at 02:48 PM · I wonder if my Suzuki 1 book with him playing violin will be a collectible? ;-)

August 20, 2018 at 09:22 PM · I am amazed at the people who read about the very serious and extremely credible allegations being made about Bill Preucil and respond by hoping that his Suzuki recordings either can be purchased at firesale prices (that was on another thread) or become valuable.

This behavior has been talked about for a very long time--decades--I heard about it in the 1980s from people who had been at Eastman. That it has taken so long for women to go on the record is not a reflection of their credibility but more a reflection of our culture of "blame the victim," as can be seen in many current comment threads. It's no wonder that women have been reluctant to put themselves out there, never mind the potential career damage from someone in power.

And people respond by hoping to cash in on his Suzuki recordings. It's disappointing.

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