Over 500 musicians call for immediate action following Juilliard misconduct allegations

The Juilliard School misconduct allegations

Over 500 musicians are demanding New York’s prestigious Juilliard School take immediate action against composer Robert Beaser following allegations of sexual misconduct.

As reported by VAN last week, Beaser — who formerly chaired the performing arts academy’s composition department — has been accused of multiple instances of previously-undisclosed sexual harassment and misconduct that occurred throughout the 1990s and 2000s. Another staff member, late composer Christopher Rouse, was accused of similar behaviour.

Following the article, NPR reported that Beaser had stepped down from his responsibilities at Juilliard as of Friday (December 16). An investigation into the allegations was launched by an independent law firm, with school provost Adam Meyer telling staff in an email: “We will continue to conduct the investigation in a confidential manner.”

“We want to assure you that our processes and procedures provide for fair and impartial treatment of all involved, and we are committed to our work to resolve this matter.”

On Monday (December 19), an open letter with more than 500 signatories from the classical music community was addressed to the school, demanding immediate action for Beaser’s misconduct.

“Though we recognize and appreciate the need for due process, the volume of allegations, testimony, and supporting evidence of Beaser’s misconduct are undeniably unsettling,” the letter read. “Until the investigation is resolved, Beaser’s presence in the Juilliard composition department could jeopardize the emotional well-being of students and inhibit a safe and healthy learning environment.”

It was signed by a number of current professors at various institutions and prominent composers, such as Vivian Fung, Sarah Kirkland Snider, Nicholas Britell, Missy Mazzoli and more, many of whom are Juilliard graduates.

As per VAN, a Juilliard spokeswoman said that Beaser had been investigated by the conservatory back in the late 1990s and again in more recent years, however, new allegations had come to light in the article. Some of the allegations levelled against Beaser in the piece include having inappropriate sexual relationships with students, while it reported that a number of staff and faculty members had been aware of the misconduct since the 2000s.

In an email to VAN, Beaser said he was aware of the investigation and looked “forward to cooperating with it”.

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