James Levine denies abuse allegations

Four musicians have accused former Metropolitan Opera music director James Levine of sexual abuse. The alleged abuse took place while all four were teenagers, a period covering the 1960s – 1980s. Levine has denied the allegations.

The musicians are violinist and pianist Ashok Pa, bassist Chris Brown, cellist James Lestock and violinist Albin Ifsich. Pa filed a police report in 2016, which was leaked to the New York Post and The New York Times. The other three then came forward with similar accusations.

In a statement given to The New York Times on Thursday, Levine denied the charges. “As anyone who truly knows me will attest, I have not lived my life as an oppressor or an aggressor,” he said.

The Met has suspended Levine, who is currently music director emeritus, pending an investigation that independent attorney Robert J Cleary will lead.

Met general manager Peter Gelb issued the following statement: “While we await the results of the investigation, based on these new news reports, the Met has made the decision to act now. This is a tragedy for anyone whose life has been affected.”

Conductors Marco Armiliato and Bertrand de Billy will replace Levine at upcoming Met performances.

Other institutions to cut ties with Levine include The Julliard School (where he was due to conduct in February), The Ravina Festival (where he was conductor laureate) and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (where he was scheduled to conduct at the May Festival).