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The Juilliard School announced on Thursday that it has fired composer Robert Beaser, the former head of its composition faculty, after an independent law firm investigated allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct against Beaser dating from the late 1990s and 2000s.
Investigators, from Potter & Murdock, found “credible evidence that Mr. Beaser engaged in conduct that interfered with individuals’ academic work and was inconsistent with Juilliard’s commitment to providing a learning environment safe and favorable to its students”.
Additionally, says Juilliard, investigators found that Beaser had engaged in an unreported relationship that violated Juilliard policy at the time and that he had “repeatedly misrepresented the facts about his actions.”
Beaser was chairman of the composition department at the famous music conservatory for 25 years, between 1994 and 2018. The accusations of sexual harassment and misconduct against the composer were first made public last December in the magazine based in Germany. VAN.
The day after the VAN report, more than 500 musicians and classical music leaders have called for Beaser to be removed from his role at Juilliard. In the same week as VAN released his story, the school said the composer had “stepped away” from his teaching position.
On Thursday, Juilliard confirmed that Beaser had been furloughed in December, pending the outcome of the investigation.
Now the split is permanent. “Effective today, Mr. Beaser is no longer employed by the school,” Juilliard wrote Thursday in a memo to its students, staff and faculty that the school also sent to NPR. The memo was signed by Juilliard Chairman Damian Woetzel and his provost Adam Meyer.
In his December story, VAN indicated that he had substantiated all the allegations he had published. VAN reported that he had obtained a 2018 memo from the Juilliard administration referring to an alleged report written by a former student who had attended the school in the early 2000s. In this memo, the former student stated that he knew that Beaser had attempted to initiate sexual relations with at least two students. According VANa second Juilliard alumnus was also in contact with the school in early 2018 regarding similar allegations against Beaser dating back to the 1990s.
Two other prominent composition faculty members had also been the subject of complaints raised in the VAN report and were subsequently investigated by Potter & Murdock: Christopher Rouse, who died in 2019, and John Corigliano.
Rouse had been accused of making unwanted sexual advances and comments. One accuser, Suzanne Farrin, alleged that when she auditioned for Juilliard’s PhD program in 2001, Rouse then invited her to dinner and tried to kiss her. The day after she rejected his advances, she said VAN, his application to Juilliard was rejected. According to Juilliard, Potter & Murdock investigators found the charges against Rouse “credible”, but they “could not be fully investigated” since Rouse is deceased.
VAN compiled a list of 190 former Juilliard composition students who attended the school between 1997 and 2021. Of these 190 former students, only one female-identifying composer listed John Corigliano as their former professor at Juilliard, versus 28 students identifying as male.
Investigators found that Corigliano taught “significantly” fewer female students than male students, but that neither “he nor the school had any formal or informal policy preventing women from studying with him”.
In its memo Thursday, Juilliard said some of the allegations were investigated by the school in the late 1990s and early 2000s and from 2017 to 2018. Those investigations, according to the ‘school, “were processed on the basis of [the school’s] understanding of the information provided at that time. However, to review new information reported in the media and to better understand the relevant facts, our administration launched an independent investigation in December 2022.”
The investigators also found that during the period of their research, “some students, especially women, lived in an environment [composition] department that did not live up to the values and expectations of the school.
The conservatory says it is strengthening its policies on sexual misconduct and abuse of power. Under current Juilliard rules, the school prohibits romantic or sexual relationships between faculty and two specific groups: undergraduates and graduate students with whom “an imbalance of power could be exploited (such as coexistence in the same department)”.
However, beginning in the fall 2023 semester, Juilliard prohibits any romantic or sexual relationship between all faculty and students.
The school has also implemented a degree of physical transparency in recent years. In 2019, Juilliard began requiring all one-to-one lessons to take place on the school campus; previously, it was not uncommon for teachers to give lessons at home or elsewhere. Also, in 2015, the school completed the installation of windows on the doors of all of its teaching studios.