“Based on recent accounts in the media regarding James Levine, Ravinia has severed all ties,” the Ravinia Festival’s statement said. “Ravinia maintains a zero-tolerance policy and culture on sexual harassment. We are deeply troubled and saddened by the allegations and sympathize with everyone who has been hurt.”
Levine, who was suspended by New York’s Metropolitan Opera over the weekend following a series of allegations of sexual abuse dating back to the 1960s, was Music Director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s summer residencies at the festival from 1973 to 1993, performing there as recently as August this year. He was to have been the festival’s Conductor Laureate beginning in 2018.
One of the alleged victims, Ashok Pai, has claimed in a police report quoted by the New York Post that Levine abused him for years beginning in the summer of 1986 – when Pai was 16 – after Levine drove him home from the festival.
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association also issued a statement, referring to the allegations against Levine as “deeply troubling” and stating that Levine is not scheduled to conduct future concerts with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
While the New York Post broke the story, over the weekend two more alleged victims spoke to the New York Times, accusing Levine of abusing them in 1968 when they were students at Meadow Brook School of Music in Michigan. A fourth alleged victim, Albin Ifsich – a violinist in the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra for many years – came forward on Monday, describing a similar pattern of abuse that same year, when he was 20, while attending the Meadow Brook School of Music.
The Juilliard School has also distanced itself from Levine, announcing that it was seeking a replacement conductor for a concert scheduled in February for the Juilliard Orchestra and the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program.