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A recent article alleges a bad working atmosphere and more at the New York Philharmonic Orchestra


If the article published yesterday on New York's Vulture website can believed, bad things have been happening at the New York Philharmonic Orchestra (NYPO). When Gustavo Dudamel becomes the orchestra's music and artistic director in 2026, he may have more to deal with than he realises. Sammy Sussman, writing for Vulture, has been investigating the alleged sexual misconduct of two members of the orchestra - trumpet player Matthew Muckey and oboist Liang Wang.

The facts are that in 2018, the orchestra hired a former judge to investigate the earlier behaviour of these individuals and that they were both fired the same year. Muckey and Wang appealed to their union, and in the resulting arbitration, the NYPO was forced to reinstate them in 2020. They remain in their jobs as associate principal trumpet and principal oboe.

The NYPO website claims this:

We foster environments on stage and off for people to thrive. We strive to support and empower each other, developing an inclusive culture guided by empathy, compassion, and respect.

Sussman, in his article, has interviewed current and former NYPO musicians. One of them claims that the orchestra is 'an unusually difficult place to work' and that he has never seen anything 'close to the heinous conduct of a handful of former [NYPO] colleagues'.

Sussman concentrates in great detail on the story of French horn player Cara Kizer, who in 2010 had joined the NYPO. (Kizer was the second woman to ever obtain a job in the NYPO brass section. Six months earlier, trombonist Amanda Stewart had been the first. Neither of them still play with the NYPO.)

Whilst the orchestra was in residency in Colorado, Kizer claims that she was offered wine which contained a date rape drug, lost consciousness and assumes that she was raped. There was a considerable amount of evidence, including matching DNA with Muckey, but not enough to obtain a conviction.

Cara Kizer. Photo © Sara Messinger
Cara Kizer. Photo © Sara Messinger

The interviews with police officials, and with Kizer and her colleagues, and previous allegations against Muckey and Wang, all seem to lead to the conclusion of a miscarriage of justice. Sussman's article is detailed - a little too so for some, maybe. It also contains something unexpected, right at the end.

Further information:

Posted 13 April 2024 by Keith Bramich





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