Former music students accuse Juilliard faculty of sexual misconduct: NPR

A 2005 exterior photo of The Juilliard School, located on the Lincoln Center campus in New York City.

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A 2005 exterior photo of The Juilliard School, located on the Lincoln Center campus in New York City.

Stan Honda/AFP via Getty Images

The Juilliard School in New York – one of the world’s most famous training grounds for classical musicians – is facing allegations that two of its professors engaged in sexual misconduct against aspiring and enrolled students. school. Additionally, the accusers say the conservatory has known about some of these allegations for at least four years, but, to their knowledge, the school has not taken meaningful action.

Specifically, two people described alleged incidents involving Robert Beaser, the former head of the renowned school’s composition department and a current member of its faculty, and another person described an alleged incident involving the Pulitzer-winning composer. and Grammy winner Christopher Rouse, who died in 2019. The charges date back to the late 1990s and early 2000s.

The charges were published by the Berlin-based classical music publication on Monday VANin collaboration with the Investigative Reporting Workshop based at the American University in Washington, DC In a statement to VAN, Juilliard said it had hired an outside law firm to conduct an independent investigation into the allegations raised in the magazine’s reporting. In an email to VANBeaser wrote: “I am aware that there will be an independent investigation. I look forward to cooperating with her. »

VAN said to have corroborated the three sets of accusations. Several other female-identifying former students, current professors, and other notable composers have attested to the magazine that they know the climate at Juilliard for female composition students over the years.

One of the accusers, Suzanne Farrin, says she auditioned for Juilliard’s doctoral program in the spring of 2001, hoping to join Rouse’s studio as a private student. She alleged that he invited her to dinner after her audition, where he tried to kiss her. After rejecting his advances, she claimed VAN, his request was denied the following day. She also said VAN that when she called the admissions office a few days later to complain about Rouse’s alleged behavior, a staff member reportedly immediately replied, “If you’re calling about Professor Rouse, he’s a big supporter of your music . (Farrin later attended Yale University for his doctorate and later won a Guggenheim Fellowship for his work.)

VAN also obtained a 2018 memo from Juilliard’s Title IX office, referencing an alleged report from a former composition student who had been to the school in the early 2000s. The former Juilliard student, who asked VAN on condition of anonymity for fear of professional retaliation, said they had reported knowing that Beaser had attempted to initiate sexual relations with at least two students. (Title IX of the Education Amendments Act is a 1972 federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in any educational institution or program receiving federal funding. This complaint some 20 years ago.)

A second Juilliard alumnus was also in contact with the school in early 2018 regarding similar allegations against Beaser dating back to the 1990s. The second alumnus, who also remained anonymous in the VAN article for fear of professional backlash, alleged that Beaser had repeatedly made sexual advances towards him during private lessons at his home, where he frequently taught Juilliard students, and that Beaser had suggested he might provide him with a professional opportunity in exchange for sexual activity. The woman said that a few years after the alleged incidents, she was questioned about Beaser by a Juilliard attorney.

Later in 2018, Juilliard appointed composer Melinda Wagner to head its composition department, replacing Beaser. A spokesperson said VAN that the two separate sets of allegations against Beaser “were dealt with according to school procedures at the time,” but did not elaborate.

Meanwhile, several former Juilliard students have said VAN that the allegations against Beaser were “an open secret” at the notorious institution in the 1990s and 2000s.

A professor emeritus at the school, composer Samuel Adler, acknowledged VAN that he had previously heard of allegations about peers at Juilliard. “It’s true that some women didn’t feel comfortable with some of my colleagues,” VAN reported Adler as saying.

Additionally, eight Juilliard alumni who identify as women told the German magazine that one of the school’s most visible and famous composition teachers – Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Corigliano , Oscar and Grammy – almost never invited female students to be part of his teaching studio. , cutting them off from professional development.

VAN compiled a list of 190 former Juilliard composition students from 1997 to 2021 via the school’s own published records as well as public websites and biographical records. Of these 190 former students, only one composer identifying as a woman listed Corigliano as her former teacher at Juilliard, compared to 28 students identifying as men who had attended Juilliard.

In a statement to VANCorigliano said he remembers having a very gifted student in his studio during this time, and noted that last year his studio included two out of six total female students, adding: “It saddens me to read that you were told by eight female students, formerly at the Juilliard School, that there was an unwritten policy by which they perceived that I favored men over women. Such a position was neither my preference nor my policy. It has been a great pleasure to work with many very gifted young women and men during my long teaching career. »

The journalist of VAN article, Sammy Sussman had previously reported sexual misconduct at the University of Michigan while enrolled there as an undergraduate student. The subject of his 2018 investigation, former UM School of Music, Theater & Dance professor Stephen Shipps, faced allegations of 40 years of misconduct in college and elsewhere. Earlier this year, Shipps was sentenced to five years in prison for sexual misconduct against a high school student in 2002.

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Former music students accuse Juilliard faculty of sexual misconduct: NPR