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Prominent classical musician replaced for Santa Fe concerts; sexual harassment alleged

SANTA FE – A prominent figure in the classical music world won’t continue his performances in Santa Fe this summer after the Washington Post reported allegations of sexual harassment against him.

Violinst William Preucil, concertmaster for the Cleveland Orchestra for 23 years, had already taken the stage for concerts at the 2018 Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. But “he has been replaced for the remaining concerts he was schedule to play,” said festival spokeswoman Alexis Tappan on Friday.

William Preucil

Preucil was to be part of ensembles for concerts scheduled for Sunday, Monday and Wednesday. He has been a regular at the Chamber Music Festival, a major mainstay of Santa Fe’s summer cultural offerings, dating back at least to 2011.

In a Post article earlier this week, violinist Zeneba Bowers said that Preucil tried to assault her in his hotel room after a lesson at the New World Symphony, a leading training orchestra for young professionals, in 1998. Other musicians confirmed Preucil’s reputation for inappropriate advances, according to the Post.

The Post story also mentioned an article that ran in 2007 in the publication Cleveland Scene, in which it was alleged that Preucil made an unwanted advance to a student at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he is a teacher. The student subsequently transferred to a different school, at CIM’s expense. At the time, Preucil responded to the Cleveland Scene reporter, Rebecca Meiser, in an email that “the issue was fully reviewed by the institution and was resolved to everyone’s satisfaction.”

Preucil told the Post through the Cleveland Orchestra that he was unavailable for comment.

On Friday, the orchestra announced that it had suspended Preucil “until further notice” and opened an investigation into the sexual harassment allegations, the Post reported.

Cleveland Orchestra director AndrĂ© Gremillet said that this was his first time hearing the allegations. “There was no blind eye turned,” he told the Post “No allegations were made; no one came forward to anyone in management. I need to know about it to do something about it.”

The Grand Teton Music Festival in Wyoming, where Preucil was one of four listed concertmasters this summer, has uninvited him, the Post reported. “This sort of behavior has no place in our organization,” said Andrew Palmer Todd, the festival’s president and CEO, in a statement. A scheduled recital at the University of Texas at Austin in October was also canceled, according to the Post.

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