Metropolitan Opera Officially Terminates Relationship With James Levine

Met opera fires conductor after sexual misconduct probe

New York's Metropolitan Opera has fired eminent conductor James Levine, after an internal inquiry found "credible evidence" to support claims he sexually abused young male musicians.

"In light of these findings, the Met concludes that it would be inappropriate and impossible for Mr. Levine to continue to work at the Met", it said in the statement.

He held the position of music director emeritus and remained head of its young artists program, but was suspended on December 3 after accounts surfaced in the New York Post and The New York Times of sexual misconduct dating back to the 1960s.

The Met reported, however, that they found no substantiating evidence that the Met's management or its board of directors "engaged in a cover-up of information". It said more than 70 people were interviewed in the probe.

Nominated for 37 Grammy awards, he stepped down in 2016, becoming director emeritus.

"The Met is committed to ensuring a safe, respectful and harassment-free workplace for its employees and artists", the company said its Monday statement.

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The Met, which like many major United States music institutions has a constant challenge of shoring up its finances, has acted quickly to move past the taint of Levine.

Ashok Pai said he had been abused by Levine for years, beginning in 1986 near the Ravinia Festival in IL, when he was 16.

In an investigative piece published this month by The Boston Globe, former students at the Cleveland Institute of Music described Levine as a cult-like figure who not only coerced them into sex but controlled their lives. He alleged that the much-older Levine fondled his penis when he was a teenager and masturbated naked in front of him, describing hundreds of incidents.

Four men accused Levine of assault, including Ashok Pai, who told the Daily News that the conductor "basically sexually assaulted me hundreds of times".

In December London's Royal Philharmonic Orchestra relieved its principal conductor and artistic director Charles Dutoit of his duties following allegations against him, which he denies.

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