Following Assault Allegations, BSO Says It Will Never Employ Levine Again

Dec 5, 2017

In response to sexual assault allegations against James Levine, the Boston Symphony Orchestra said Tuesday afternoon that the company's former music director "will never be employed or contracted by the BSO at any time in the future." 

The 74-year-old Levine was suspended by the Metropolitan Opera this week following the allegations, which date to the 1960s and involve teenage boys. The longtime conductor was music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra from 2004 to 2011. He was a frequent presence at Tanglewood in the Berkshires. 

On December 2, the BSO original said it had no comment on the allegations. A spokesperson sent the following statement December 3.

The Boston Symphony Orchestra learned about the recent allegations against James Levine on Saturday evening, December 2.  The BSO finds this information deeply disturbing and awaits the findings of further investigations on the matter. Mr. Levine has not conducted the BSO since January 2011 and is not scheduled to conduct the orchestra at any time in the future.

"The Boston Symphony Orchestra adhered to a due diligence process, including a personal and professional review of all aspects of James Levine’s candidacy prior to his appointment as music director in 2004, and decided to move ahead with his appointment. During Mr. Levine's tenure with the BSO, 2004-2011, the Boston Symphony Orchestra management was never approached by anyone in connection with inappropriate behavior by James Levine. The Boston Symphony Orchestra is committed to a zero tolerance policy towards anyone who exhibits sexual harassment behavior in the workplace. All of us at the BSO remain vigilant in our commitment to fight against all types of inappropriate and offensive behavior, and to continue the essential work of creating a safe and supportive work environment. Behavior by any employee of the BSO that runs counter to these core values and beliefs would not be tolerated and would be met with the most serious consequences."

The BSO released the following statement Tuesday.

"In light of the recent horrific allegations against James Levine outlined in various media accounts since December 2, there is no doubt that the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the classical music industry must seriously reflect on this moment and determine ways to ensure sexual misconduct has no place in our industry. Though the Boston Symphony Orchestra (including Tanglewood and the Boston Pops, among other programs) meets top industry standards on all issues of employee safety, the orchestra is reviewing its policies regarding work place abuse and harassment issues to make certain they continue to meet and exceed the highest standards. In the new year, the BSO plans to convene a symposium with human resource experts who specialize in policy-making around these relevant issues to ensure the safest possible environment for all involved in our organization. The BSO is committed to a zero-tolerance policy towards anyone who exhibits inappropriate behavior in the workplace. Behavior by any employee of the BSO that runs counter to these core values would not be tolerated and would be met with the most serious consequences. While considering hiring James Levine as music director, through a third party, the Boston Symphony Orchestra adhered to due diligence in line with its employee hiring process, including a background check with a criminal screening and an analysis of any possible civil claims, as well as numerous conversations with music professionals across the country associated with Mr. Levine throughout his long career. Although the current allegations paint a different story about Mr. Levine, the BSO's vetting process in 2001 did not reveal cause for concern. The Boston Symphony Orchestra has not worked with James Levine since he stepped down as music director in 2011; he will never be employed or contracted by the BSO at any time in the future."