As fourth Levine victim comes forward, Ravinia Festival severs all ties with conductor

Mon Dec 04, 2017 at 11:08 pm

Following a New York Times report of a fourth abuse victim, the Ravinia Festival has severed all connections with conductor James Levine over the allegations of sexual abuse of underaged teen musicians.

In a terse one-paragraph statement released Monday night, the Highland Park festival and summer home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra said that based on recent media stories, “Ravinia has severed all ties with the conductor who served as music director of the festival from 1973 to 1993.” The statement adds that “We are deeply troubled and saddened by the allegations and sympathize with everyone who has been hurt.”

Levine was accorded a hero’s welcome on his return to the Ravinia Festival in 2016 after a prolonged absence. The festival had created a new post for him, conductor laureate, under which he was slated to lead two weeks of concert every summer through 2022. That position has now been rescinded.

Ravinia had released an earlier statement on Sunday saying that it finds the allegations “very disturbing” and that it would “take any actions that it deems appropriate following the results of these investigations.”

Clearly the relentless coverage, with new Levine victims coming forward daily–along with the explicit details of the abuse and career threats by Levine toward underaged teen musicians revealed in the New York Post and New York Times over the weekend–were so toxic that there was little upside to Ravinia delaying their separation from their formerly celebrated music director.

Earlier Monday the Chicago Symphony Orchestra released its first statement on the Levine matter, noting that the conductor is not scheduled to perform any future concerts with the CSO.

See earlier NYCR reports from Saturday and Sunday here with links to the New York Post and New York Times stories.


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