Author Topic: James Levine  (Read 7285 times)

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Parsifal

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Re: NYT Reports Levine Accusation
« Reply #40 on: December 03, 2017, 07:37:13 AM »
Every female classical musician I know (including myself), and a lot of male classical musicians I know, has at least one story of sexual harassment or abuse.... most often by teachers/mentors, conductors and music directors, and other people in positions of authority. That's just kind of how the industry has worked for decades. I hope some of the men responsible will be held accountable even if they are "great artists", or even just important directors of various institutions who have done a good job etc, but not holding my breath >.>

It has been the same in any case where there are 'star' performers who produce great revenue for their organizations. They come to be considered untouchable because of their economic value and/or status. If you report them you become the enemy of the organization. I would say the environment has been getting better over time but it is still a pervasive problem.

The moment we are in where famous people are being called on their predatory behaviour is necessary, but it must lead to a culture where people get called on their unacceptable behaviour immediately, not after a 20 year history of abusive conduct. If people are called on their initial transgression they are presumably less likely to go to the next step.

Parsifal

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Re: James Levine
« Reply #41 on: December 03, 2017, 08:02:25 AM »
I see we have another thread on this in the diner (perhaps where it belongs). Some consolidation may be in order.

http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,27657.0.html

It may just be timing (this being The Year, apparently, of Wrongheaded Tolerance Wearing Out at Last), but he is in the soup at a time when he ought to be retiring, anyway.

But maybe he should be retiring in a state penitentiary.

Offline Florestan

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Re: James Levine
« Reply #42 on: December 03, 2017, 08:16:48 AM »
Quote from: SurprisedByBeauty
I wanted [to] ask a famous opera star this last question in an interview (which ended up not taking place at all): “For truly great artists, is there a different moral standard that applies?”

My answer is "Absolutely not! There is a universal moral standard which applies to everyone! Being a great conductor is no excuse for pederasty / paedophilia."

NB: I don't know if Levine is truly guilty (and I'd be only too glad if he were officially exonerated). I say this as a matter of principle.
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Offline Florestan

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Re: NYT Reports Levine Accusation
« Reply #43 on: December 03, 2017, 08:19:32 AM »
The moment we are in where famous people are being called on their predatory behaviour is necessary, but it must lead to a culture where people get called on their unacceptable behaviour immediately, not after a 20 year history of abusive conduct. If people are called on their initial transgression they are presumably less likely to go to the next step.

+ 1.
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Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Re: NYT Reports Levine Accusation
« Reply #44 on: December 03, 2017, 08:32:12 AM »
It has been the same in any case where there are 'star' performers who produce great revenue for their organizations. They come to be considered untouchable because of their economic value and/or status. If you report them you become the enemy of the organization. I would say the environment has been getting better over time but it is still a pervasive problem.

The moment we are in where famous people are being called on their predatory behaviour is necessary, but it must lead to a culture where people get called on their unacceptable behaviour immediately, not after a 20 year history of abusive conduct. If people are called on their initial transgression they are presumably less likely to go to the next step.

+ 2




The Grand Moral Reckoning, Classical Edition. James Levine In The Soup

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2017/12/03/the-grand-moral-reckoning-classical-edition-james-levine-in-the-soup/#22b1e8c21d5b

Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Re: James Levine
« Reply #45 on: December 03, 2017, 08:36:37 AM »
My answer is "Absolutely not! There is a universal moral standard which applies to everyone! Being a great conductor is no excuse for pederasty / paedophilia."

NB: I don't know if Levine is truly guilty (and I'd be only too glad if he were officially exonerated). I say this as a matter of principle.

I agree -- which is one of the reasons I have always felt an anger at the big-wigs getting away with things in this industry that would NEVER fly in normal corporations.
But that's not to say that we, as a society (victims included, I'm sure), have operated on that assumption.
And how do you count the situation where a genius, because of his or her position, can show behavior that a mortal could never... and the target/non-victim genuinely doesn't mind. Very murky territory.

Offline Todd

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Re: James Levine
« Reply #46 on: December 03, 2017, 08:42:06 AM »
My answer is Absolutely not! There is a universal moral standard which applies to everyone!


Perhaps, perhaps not.  Assuming it is true, does this universal moral standard prevent people from appreciating the work of monsters, or at least bad people?  How many people on this forum and in the world have enjoyed Roman Polanski movies?  Gesualdo's musical works?  Picasso's art works?  Chuck Berry's music?  Charlie Chaplin's movies?  Etc.

This does not excuse Levine's alleged behavior, or the behavior of the others I mentioned, or other transgressors, but the practical reality is that a lot of people routinely overlook immoral and criminal behavior in others.
The universe is change; life is opinion.   Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Offline Todd

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Re: NYT Reports Levine Accusation
« Reply #47 on: December 03, 2017, 08:47:14 AM »
but it must lead to a culture where people get called on their unacceptable behaviour immediately, not after a 20 year history of abusive conduct.


That seems unlikely to be a permanent outcome of the current reckoning/hysteria/whatever you want to call it, at least in the US.  Power is still power.  If people in positions of authority make enough money for interested parties, or achieve other goals considered just as important, legal settlements will silence accusers/victims and allow it to continue.  I can see even more legal settlements in the future, but there are a lot now.  I can also see a push to remove nondisclosure provisions from settlements as standard practice and/or removing sanctions for violations of those provisions, but that will likely go nowhere, at least outside Congress.  I also expect more sensitivity and sexual harassment training throughout the corporate world, and presumably all levels of government, too, but that has been around a long time.  (AmPo recently published a piece with the supposedly startling revelation that such training has little to do with victims and almost everything to do with protecting the employer.  Who knew?)

Taking just Hollywood as an example, tales of the so-called "casting couch" are about as old as the industry, and modern feminism has been around for about half of the history of the industry (and variants of feminism pre-date the industry), yet here we are.  I'm not convinced that the current atmosphere, which owes much to the political situation in the country, will really change much.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2017, 09:04:24 AM by Todd »
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Offline Florestan

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Re: James Levine
« Reply #48 on: December 03, 2017, 08:53:15 AM »
And how do you count the situation where a genius, because of his or her position, can show behavior that a mortal could never... and the target/non-victim genuinely doesn't mind. Very murky territory.

This is one of the most pernicious legacies of (philosophical) Romanticism: a genius is ipso facto beyond good and evil. And it is inextricably linked with another equally pernicious legacy of (philosophical) Romanticism*: epater le bourgeois is a legitimate artistic and social behavior.

* Much as I enjoy Romantic music (and art in general), I think that no other philosophical movement has contributed that much to the widespread acceptance of so many falsehoods, errors and lies, Marxism excepted.  ;D
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Offline Florestan

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Re: James Levine
« Reply #49 on: December 03, 2017, 09:05:07 AM »
Perhaps, perhaps not.  Assuming it is true, does this universal moral standard prevent people from appreciating the work of monsters, or at least bad people?  How many people on this forum and in the world have enjoyed Roman Polanski movies?  Gesualdo's musical works?  Picasso's art works?  Chuck Berry's music?  Charlie Chaplin's movies?  Etc.

This does not excuse Levine's alleged behavior, or the behavior of the others I mentioned, or other transgressors, but the practical reality is that a lot of people routinely overlook immoral and criminal behavior in others.

Immoral and criminal behavior is the province of morality, ethics and law. The artistic output of immoral and criminal people is the province of aesthetics and personal taste. The vast majority of people who enjoy Gesualdo's music wouldn't murder their wife and her lover. The vast majority of people who enjoy Robert King's recordings are not paedophiles. The vast majority of people who enjoy Wagner's operas are not rabid antisemites.

Art is no excuse for immoral or criminal behaviour; conversely, immoral or criminal behaviour is no argument for dissmissing art.
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Offline Todd

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Re: James Levine
« Reply #50 on: December 03, 2017, 09:08:56 AM »
Art is no excuse for immoral or criminal behaviour; conversely, immoral or criminal behaviour is no argument for dissmissing art.


Indeed.  But the practical acceptance of the latter - consuming artistic output - especially in the context of currently active artists, may contribute to more immoral or criminal behavior by currently active artists.
The universe is change; life is opinion.   Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: James Levine
« Reply #51 on: December 03, 2017, 09:10:49 AM »
The axe finally falls.

I've been aware of those rumors since the 1980s, and they seemed credible as they came from direct sources, specifically a couple of people who were working at Ravinia at the time. Also, the alleged victim went to the same high school as I did, though he was a few years behind me (I don't think I ever met him).

I didn't see mentioned in the article that, when taking up his post in Munich, Levine had to submit a statement from the NYPD to the effect that he had no police record. Apparently JL's conduct was an open secret for years, a "secret" that had crossed the ocean. Still, like any accused offender, he deserves his day in court.

In any case, I don't want him to be "unpersoned" in the Stalinist manner that is now becoming alarmingly fashionable again. His recordings should continue to be made available, without the conductor's named being redacted, or any of the other quasi-Orwellian measures coming back into fashion. And they aren't only his recordings, there are some great orchestras involved that presumably want to have their own legacy preserved. Levine, for good or evil, is a part of that.
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Offline Turner

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Re: James Levine
« Reply #52 on: December 03, 2017, 09:13:53 AM »
So it seems to be a quite comprehensive affair, then.

Offline Florestan

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Re: NYT Reports Levine Accusation
« Reply #53 on: December 03, 2017, 09:24:36 AM »
That seems unlikely to be a permanent outcome of the current reckoning/hysteria/whatever you want to call it, at least in the US.  Power is still power.  If people in positions of authority make enough money for interested parties, or achieve other goals considered just as important, legal settlements will silence accusers/victims and allow it to continue. 

I agree. This only shows that the whole "legal settlements" philosophy is morally and socially flawed, if not downright pernicious in some cases.
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Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Re: James Levine
« Reply #54 on: December 03, 2017, 09:25:17 AM »

I didn't see mentioned in the article that, when taking up his post in Munich, Levine had to submit a statement from the NYPD to the effect that he had no police record. Apparently JL's conduct was an open secret for years, a "secret" that had crossed the ocean. Still, like any accused offender, he deserves his day in court.

In any case, I don't want him to be "unpersoned" in the Stalinist manner that is now becoming alarmingly fashionable again. His recordings should continue to be made available, without the conductor's named being redacted, or any of the other quasi-Orwellian measures coming back into fashion. And they aren't only his recordings, there are some great orchestras involved that presumably want to have their own legacy preserved. Levine, for good or evil, is a part of that.

Yep, that happend. The Green Party made quite an appropriate fuss. In fact [=in rumor], it was considered that he needed the Munich time as a 'cool-down' period because things in New York had gotten too hot.

Couldn't agree more with that sentiment. I think that kind of reaction is ultimately much worse for society than facing wrong and dealing with it appropriately .

Offline Mahlerian

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Re: James Levine
« Reply #55 on: December 03, 2017, 09:25:34 AM »
In any case, I don't want him to be "unpersoned" in the Stalinist manner that is now becoming alarmingly fashionable again. His recordings should continue to be made available, without the conductor's named being redacted, or any of the other quasi-Orwellian measures coming back into fashion. And they aren't only his recordings, there are some great orchestras involved that presumably want to have their own legacy preserved. Levine, for good or evil, is a part of that.

I agree.  We can condemn the behavior without pretending the artistic legacy doesn't exist.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2017, 09:28:21 AM by Mahlerian »

Offline Florestan

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Re: James Levine
« Reply #56 on: December 03, 2017, 09:26:15 AM »

Indeed.  But the practical acceptance of the latter - consuming artistic output - especially in the context of currently active artists, may contribute to more immoral or criminal behavior by currently active artists.

No argument from me here.
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Offline Todd

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Re: NYT Reports Levine Accusation
« Reply #57 on: December 03, 2017, 09:27:10 AM »
I agree. This only shows that the whole "legal settlements" philosophy is morally and socially flawed, if not downright pernicious in some cases.


I disagree.  Settlements are legitimate and sound in many or perhaps even most cases.
The universe is change; life is opinion.   Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Offline Florestan

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Re: NYT Reports Levine Accusation
« Reply #58 on: December 03, 2017, 09:34:11 AM »
Settlements are legitimate and sound in many or perhaps even most cases.

In many or perhaps even most civil cases, I do agree. In many or perhaps even most criminal cases, I have  reservations.
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Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: James Levine
« Reply #59 on: December 03, 2017, 02:37:22 PM »
I agree.  We can condemn the behavior without pretending the artistic legacy doesn't exist.

In any case damnatio memoriae never works. If you appreciate irony, check out the stories detailed here. All these people have been officially erased from history, yet they are remembered, in some cases centuries later:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damnatio_memoriae

BTW, the only composer I can think of who was fired for sexual harassment was Anton Bruckner. Apparently he addressed one of his teenage female students "in an inappropriately intimate manner" (or something along those lines) and was fired from his teaching position for that. He had a thing for teenage girls; that was well known. Doesn't stop me from enjoying any of his music.
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