Ravinia Music Festival cuts ties with conductor James Levine


"The investigation should have been done decades ago".

"Since I've been at the Met there has not been a single instance of somebody coming forward to make a complaint, ever, about Levine in recent Met history", Mr. Gelb said. The abuse, he told police, began in 1985, when he was 16.

"Mr. Levine will not be involved in any Met activities, including conducting scheduled performances at the Met this season", the Met said in a statement. The New York Times on Sunday reported similar accounts from two other men with Levine.

The BSO stated it had ordered "a personal and professional review of all aspects of James Levine's candidacy prior to his appointment as music director in 2004, and chose to move ahead with his appointment". He reported the allegations to the police department in Lake Forest, Illinois, in October 2016. Levine offered him a grand vision of a future career as a conductor.

In its statement, the BSO emphasized a commitment "to a zero tolerance policy towards anyone who exhibits sexual harassment behavior in the workplace".

The man told police that this behavior continued for years.

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An author, Johanna Fiedler, also wrote about the Levine rumors in a 2001 book, "Molto Agitato: The Mayhem Behind the Music at the Metropolitan Opera", commenting that inside the company "the stories were dismissed as preposterous".

"Based on these new reports, the Met has made the decision to act now, while we await the results of the investigation", said Peter Gelb, Met General Manager. The opera company hired an outside law firm to conduct a formal investigation. "This is a tragedy for anyone whose life has been affected".

Chris Brown played principal bass in the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra for more than 30 years. Mr. Levine, then 25, was a rising star on the summer program's faculty. Levine, he said, used to arrange to meet him for dinner, but would instead take him to his hotel room near Ravinia, where Levine was music director from 1973 to 1993.

Following a 22-year absence from the downtown series, Levine returned in May 2005 to direct the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in an all-Brahms concert to benefit the musicians' pension fund. Then-music director Daniel Barenboim was the piano soloist.

The alleged victim in the IL investigation, whose name has been withheld because The Washington Post does not identify alleged victims of sexual abuse, has approached reporters from multiple publications over the years and, more recently, posted publicly on Facebook. Ironically, Levine was replacing current BSO Music Director Andris Nelsons in the pit.

The news shook the opera house Monday. Questions are being raised on what it knew about the widespread allegations against Levine.

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"This first came to the Met's attention when the IL police investigation was opened in October, 2016", Gelb said in a statement.

"We do not believe there is any truth whatsoever to the charges", Bliss wrote. The letter stated that the Met had spoken "extensively" with Levine and his manager.

Levine is a beloved figure in the industry but has faced rumors of these sorts in the past - so much so that he addressed them in a 1987 interview.

A decade later, more rumors circulated in Germany, when politicians and media outlets debated his appointment to become the music director of the Munich Philharmonic, beginning in 1999. He declined to be interviewed again when contacted this weekend. "I've never been able to speak in public generalities about my private life", he said.

Levine served as music director of the Met from 1976 to 2016, when he assumed the position of music director emeritus.

A Met spokeswoman says Levine denied the accusations and the opera did not want to interfere in the police investigation. The company took no further action, pending the outcome of the police investigation.

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