THE CLEVELAND ORCHESTRA ANNOUNCES FINDINGS OF INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION; TERMINATES TWO ORCHESTRA MEMBERS
CLEVELAND, October 24, 2018 – After a thorough, independent investigation led by a special committee of its board, The Cleveland Orchestra today announced findings leading to the termination of concertmaster William Preucil and principal trombonist Massimo La Rosa. Mr. Preucil and Mr. La Rosa had been suspended from the Orchestra following allegations of sexual misconduct raised earlier this year by female musicians.
After media reports of allegations about Mr. Preucil were published in late July, the Orchestra’s board formed a special committee to investigate the matter. Members of the committee included David J. Hooker (chair), Alexander M. Cutler, Stephen H. Hoffman, Loretta J. Mester and Beth E. Mooney. The committee retained the law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP to undertake an independent investigation of Mr. Preucil, which was expanded when allegations about Mr. La Rosa were raised. Results of the investigation, as well as other recommendations, were presented to the board yesterday evening.
Over the course of two months, the investigators interviewed more than 70 individuals, including members of The Cleveland Orchestra staff, individuals who had worked with or taken lessons from Mr. Preucil and Mr. La Rosa, current and former members of Orchestra management, members of the board, and Mr. Preucil and Mr. La Rosa themselves. In order to conduct as thorough an investigation as possible, the special committee also instructed the investigators to look broadly at any allegations of misconduct committed by anyone throughout the organization. The investigators did not uncover allegations related to any other member of the Orchestra staff.
The investigators found that Mr. Preucil and Mr. La Rosa engaged in sexual misconduct and sexually harassing behavior with multiple female students and colleagues over a period of years while employed by the Orchestra. Moreover, the abusive conduct by both performers was made possible by their positions of power within the Orchestra and in the broader world of classical music. According to the investigation, women who were victims were intimidated by Mr. Preucil and Mr. La Rosa, and were afraid to take action after they were subjected to the unwelcome behavior. Details related to any specific individual will remain confidential and the identity of those who came forward will remain known only to the investigators.
“Mr. Preucil’s and Mr. La Rosa’s conduct was inappropriate, appalling and inconsistent with the expectations we have for the members of our Orchestra, our staff and our board,” said Richard K. Smucker, president of the board of the Musical Arts Association. “We believe The Cleveland Orchestra should be a model for respect and trust in the way we treat our musicians, our staff and everyone with whom we work.”
“We are grateful to everyone who came forward to help with this investigation and intend to move forward as an orchestra community with a clear resolve to be more responsive and protective of our musicians, staff and anyone with whom our people interact,” said André Gremillet, executive director of the Orchestra.
In addition to the findings related to Mr. Preucil and Mr. La Rosa, Mr. Smucker and Mr. Gremillet noted that the investigators made recommendations to enhance the Orchestra’s existing policies and procedures. To that end, the board has approved a revised anti-harassment policy that makes clear that the Orchestra expressly prohibits all forms and gradations of sexual misconduct and sexually harassing behavior. Clear consequences are outlined for anyone who violates the policy.
In addition, the board has adopted a clear set of ethical principles that define the high standards of personal and professional integrity to which all members of the Orchestra community are expected to adhere.
Finally, the management has established a confidential hotline operated by an independent party to enable anyone associated with the Orchestra to report anonymously, if they wish, violations of the new anti-harassment policy, the ethical principles, or the law.
“We want to thank the victims for having the courage to come forward, and we are truly sorry about the reprehensible behavior of the two members of The Cleveland Orchestra that caused them so much harm,” said Gremillet. “I can assure everyone in our community that providing a workplace where all are treated with dignity and respect is more than ever the expectation for anyone associated with the Orchestra. Our community is rightfully proud of the world-wide reputation The Cleveland Orchestra has for its musical excellence. We want to be equally known for the caliber of the environment in which that music is created.”
The independent investigation report by Debevoise & Plimpton can be found on The Cleveland Orchestra’s website (www.clevelandorchestra.com) in the News & Media section.