A huge sexual misconduct scandal rocks the elite of the Juilliard School of Music, as several instructors have been accused of discrimination and harassment – and a renowned teacher has been furloughed after 500 people signed a letter denouncing his ” abuse of women and power”.
Composer Robert Beaser, 68, has been sidelined for a pattern of mistreatment that included soliciting sex from students – much of which was detailed in a December 12 briefing on the conservatory at the ‘Upper West Side published in VAN Magazine.
“Gender discrimination and sexual harassment have no place in our school community. We take all of these allegations very seriously,” Juilliard spokeswoman Rosalie Contreras told The Post on Wednesday as news of Beaser’s furlough emerged.
In one instance, Beaser allegedly offered to boost a former student’s career, before asking her for sex in return, according to the publication.
“What are you going to do for me?” he would have said.
Beaser — who also frequently taught students in his private home — joined Juilliard’s composition department in 1993 and served as department chair from 1994 to 2018.
The school was reportedly made aware of the allegations against him in the 1990s and then again in 2017 and 2018.
Although the 2018 report coincided with Beaser being replaced as president by Melinda Wagner, Contreras told VAN the decisions were unrelated.
“Allegations that were previously reported… in the late 1990s and in 2017/18 were investigated at the time, based on the information provided,” she explained to The Post.
“However, in order to review new information and better understand these past allegations, the current school administration launched an independent investigation on December 8.”
According to the Daily Mail, Provost Andy Meyer explained to faculty in a Dec. 16 email that Beaser will “step away from teaching duties” while an investigation is conducted.
The decision to furlough Beaser also coincided with the release of an open letter signed by 500 musicians, songwriters and other music leaders calling out his “decades-long abuse of power and womanhood.”
Beaser did not immediately respond to the Post’s request for comment, although he told VAN he would “cooperate” with the investigation.
In addition to Beaser, the VAN article details the alleged misconduct of the late Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and faculty member Christopher Rouse, who composer Suzanne Farrin says attempted to kiss her after a dinner date to discuss of his audition for the doctoral program in 2001.
After she “went out of his arms and…ran away,” Farrin told the magazine, her application to Juilliard was rejected. When she called to report the incident, an administrator insisted that Rouse was a “‘big fan'” of her music.
“They were prepared for my call,” Farrin recalled.
The VAN article also includes a claim from eight female graduates that another faculty member, Oscar-winning composer John Corigliano, rarely accepted female students.
“It was said as a joke,” former student Cristina Spinei told the outlet. “‘You couldn’t study with him’ or something like that.”
Although adjunct faculty member Samuel Adler confirmed that Corigliano did not take any female students “at first”, Corigliano denied the accusations to the magazine.
“It saddens me to read that eight female students, formerly at the Juilliard School, told you that there was an unwritten policy by which they perceived that I favored men over women,” he said. .
“Such a position was neither my preference nor my policy. I have enjoyed working with many very gifted young women and men during my long teaching career.
Corigliano did not respond to the Post’s request for comment.
“Classical music has things about hierarchy, but every field does. It’s an area where people protect themselves,” a violinist at the school told the Post on Wednesday.
“I think that’s why people are upset. It goes up. [Juilliard] was aware.
Several of the alumni cited in the VAN story felt that recognition of Juilliard’s problematic culture was long overdue.
“I wouldn’t even call it an open secret. I would just say it’s open,” Laura Karpman, film composer and Juilliard graduate, said of sexual predation on campus. “These women feel incredibly vulnerable. If they come forward, they have no protection… They have no guarantee that anyone will listen to them.
Nora Kroll-Rosenbaum, another former composition student, corroborated Karpman’s sentiment, saying female students felt safe studying with “less than half” the faculty.
Founded in 1905, Juilliard is widely regarded as one of the most elite performing arts conservatories in the world. With an esteemed alumni community of award-winning actors, musicians and dancers, composer Sarah Kirkland Snider claimed the school had an “outsized responsibility”.
“When you pride yourself on being the best in the country or the world, people look up to you for their standards and expectations,” said Snider, who has never attended Juilliard. “Teachers from other schools knew about it, they referred to it. It became a joke, a constant punchline.
In his statement to the Post, Contreras said the school remains “committed to providing a safe and supportive environment for all.”
“We cannot comment further as confidentiality is paramount to the integrity of the investigation, and discussing cases may discourage individuals from coming forward with their experiences,” she concluded.