An investigation by the law firm Potter & Murdoch found that Robert Beeser “interfered in a person’s schoolwork” and was involved in “unreported relationships” in the late 1990s and early 2000s. As a result, he was dismissed from his position in the composition department of the Juilliard School. , and he “repeatedly misrepresented his actions,” the school said Thursday in an email to students, faculty and alumni. Five organizations that once had professional affiliations with Beeser have also taken steps to distance themselves from the composer, with three of them severing all professional affiliations.
The Juilliard School also plans to change school policy this summer to explicitly ban “romantic or sexual” relationships between faculty and graduate students. Previously, the sexual misconduct policy prohibited relationships that could create a “power imbalance” between faculty and undergraduate or graduate students.
This follows VAN and the Investigative Reporting Workshop in December reporting previously undisclosed allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct against Beezer. These allegations range from repeated sexual advances on female composition students to long-term sexual relationships with female students. VAN found that these allegations were reported to school administrators in the early 2000s and again in 2018 by two separate individuals. It is unclear what steps Juilliard took to investigate the allegations at the time.
Juilliard pledged to work on the investigation, which recently closed on Dec. 8, after being contacted by VAN about the article. On December 16, four days after the VAN article was published, Juilliard announced that Mr. Beeser would be on paid leave for the duration of the investigation. (More than 500 musicians ultimately signed an open letter asking the school to investigate the allegations further.)
Over the past decade, the Juilliard School has taken steps to address the school environment. The school has already set requirements such as that all classes take place on school grounds and that teaching studios have windows in their doors.
“Juilliard is committed to providing a safe, supportive and welcoming environment for all members of the school community and addressing past and present concerns,” the school wrote at the end of the email. . “Discrimination or harassment in any form will not be tolerated and we take all reported allegations seriously.”
Juilliard University spokeswoman Rosalie Contreras wrote in an email to VAN that the school plans to educate community members about its existing anonymous reporting and anti-retaliation policies.
“We plan to emphasize (i.e. emphasize, communicate, remind people, etc.) these policies more strongly,” Contreras wrote.
Beeser’s attorney, Richard C. Schoenstein, said in an interview with VAN that Beeser cooperated with the recent investigation.
“He sat and sat in long interviews. He gave us information,” Schoenstein said. “I don’t know how you can say he misreported something.”
Schoenstein pointed out that the Juilliard School has not made its research public.
“We don’t know who they were talking to or if anyone was there. We don’t know what documents they reviewed, if any,” Schoenstein said.
Over the course of six months of reporting, VAN found Beeser accused of multiple previously undisclosed sexual harassment and illegal activities in the late 1990s and 2000s, ranging from repeated sexual advances to sexual relations with students. I learned that I was the subject of suspicion of misconduct. In one particular instance, Beeser was accused of offering promising opportunities for students to perform his music. “What can you do for me?” she said Beezer asked in response to her.
The Juilliard letter did not disclose the scope of its investigation into all allegations against Beeser, but said it had found one relationship that “violated policy in force at the time.”
In an interview with VAN, Schoenstein explained that he did not know the name of the person whose relationship allegedly violated school policy. “Assuming we think so, it’s been known for years at school,” Schoenstein said. (In Schoenstein’s written statement to reporters, he said the school knew for 30 years that he thought Schoenstein was referring to his relationship with Juilliard. )
The VAN report also uncovered previously undisclosed allegations of sexual misconduct against former music teacher Christopher Rouse. The Juilliard investigation found “considered credible” and “relating to allegations” against Rouse, but the allegations could not be fully investigated because of Rouse’s death in 2019. It remains unclear whether Rouse’s allegations against a certain Suzanne Fallin violated school policy at the time) if it violated the school’s new policy prohibiting teacher-student relationships. )
The December article also uncovered allegations that eight former female students in the department told them that longtime composition teacher John Corigliano had refused to accept female students. A list compiled by VAN of approximately 190 former composition students at the Juilliard School between 1997 and 2021 (sourced from Juilliard’s public online archives) is cross-referenced with biographical information for these students. It was confirmed that only one female composer listed Corigliano as a former teacher.
A study by the Juilliard School “found that, until recently, far fewer women than men were taught by Mr. Corigliano.” However, the investigation did not find that he or his school had any formal or informal policies that excluded women from studying with him. (Juilliard declined to release any data about Corigliano’s studio.)
According to interviews with three former composition students and copies of the messages obtained by VAN, Beeser tried to reach out to several former students in the weeks following the article’s publication to discuss the reports. It is unclear why Beeser contacted these students. Juilliard declined to comment on Beeser’s attempts to contact the students.
In a post-publication interview in December, Beezer spokesman Joe Burlein criticized VAN’s report without explicitly denying the underlying allegations. “If some of these allegations you’re looking at date back to the 1990s,” Burline said. Especially if, for example, he cycled through 500 students. ”
Burlein ended the interview by commenting on the VAN’s decision to anonymize some of Beeser’s former students in a December article. “You know the dangers of anonymous sources, right?” Burline asked repeatedly. (VAN’s report is based on interviews with 10 women, five of whom have not been named for fear of professional retaliation.)
In addition to Juilliard, five organizations that once worked with Beeser professionally have taken steps to distance themselves from him. In a statement made after the article’s publication in December, the American Composers’ Orchestra, of which Beeser had previously served as both Artistic Director and Artistic Director Laureate, announced that Beeser was the youngest recipient of the prestigious Prix de Rome. The American Academy in Rome said: that they no longer have a professional relationship with Beezer. The American Academy also noted that Beeser has not served on the association’s recent jury.
The new music group Composers Now, founded by composer Tania Leung, removed Beeser as a special mentor adviser at the end of December. In an interview, Leon explained that he called Beeser after his first article was published.
“I told him that I was disappointed and that I would remove his name immediately,” Leon said. “We don’t want to hide the fact that we were collaborators, but we can’t put him on any list now,” the group’s website says.
The Aaron Copland Music Foundation suspended Mr. Beeser from his chairmanship in December.
In a statement at the time, the foundation said it “deplores all forms of sexual harassment and discrimination.” The group’s executive vice president said in an email yesterday that the fund’s board did not have time to consider Juilliard’s findings.
Mr. Beeser was also given a leave of absence from the board of trustees of the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra in December. “BYSO will not comment further until the Juilliard investigation is complete,” the group’s executive director said in a statement at the time. Orchestra representatives did not respond to emails seeking comment on the Juilliard findings.
A Juilliard study found that in the 1990s and 2000s, “some students, particularly women, experienced environments within their departments that did not live up to the school’s values and expectations.”
Paola Prestini was one of the first graduates of the Juilliard School of Music to speak out publicly.
“Beezers are responsible for creating a toxic environment,” Prestini said.he is the new york times, It added that Beeser’s conduct was “predatory” and “hampered my career.”
“Robert’s loss is immeasurable,” Prestini wrote in a screenshot of an email to the Juilliard School president posted on social media. In addition to removing Beeser from the faculty of the school, Prestini called on the Juilliard School to take further steps to address the impact of these allegations on former schoolgirls. ¶