An open letter demanding that the Juilliard School take immediate action against composer Robert Beaser, the former chair of the institution’s composition department, for alleged “decades-long abuse of women and power” has been signed by more than 500 musicians and leaders in the classical music community. The letter was first published Friday.
Last week, the German-based VAN magazine published the findings of a six-month investigation into allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct against several Juilliard faculty members. Beaser, the magazine states, “faces multiple, previously-undisclosed allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct from the late 1990s and 2000s.”
Juilliard — the Manhattan music school that counts Robin Williams, Viola Davis, Jessica Chastain, Barry Manilow, and many more famed artists among their graduates — launched an investigation into the allegations.
“In light of the ongoing investigation, and following discussions with Bob [Beaser] earlier this afternoon, we want to notify you that Bob will step away from his teaching duties and other faculty responsibilities while the investigation is being conducted,” Juilliard Provost Adam Meyer said in a letter to composition faculty members on Friday, according to the Washington Post. “This change will be effective immediately.”
On Tuesday, a rep from Juilliard responded to Rolling Stone in a statement: “The school launched an independent investigation on December 8 in response to new allegations which date back to the late 90s and early 2000s, as brought forward by VAN Magazine. As part of the school’s process, the faculty member is on leave as of December 16.”
The magazine also includes claims of other misconduct at the school, including allegations against Pulitzer- and Grammy-winning composer Christopher Rouse and longtime Juilliard professor and composer John Corigliano.
As of Monday, the letter signatories include current professors at Harvard, Princeton, and Yale as well as Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music, and Juilliard itself. Several high-profile names have also signed the open letter, including Missy Mazzoli, Tyondai Braxton, Vijay Iyer, Andrew Norman, and Claire Chase.
This was updated at 2:52 p.m. E.T. on Dec. 20 to include a statement from the Juilliard School.