New York’s prestigious Juilliard School of Performing Arts has placed a music composition professor on leave following allegations of sexual abuse.
Robert Beaser, 68, was placed on leave Friday after facing allegations that he abused women for decades and promised to help with their careers in exchange for sexual favors.
The school has been embroiled in several other allegations of sexual misconduct since German magazine VAN published a story on December 12 suggesting that sexual harassment and misconduct have a recurring history at the school.
Notable alumni of the school include actors such as Kevin Spacey, Adam Driver and Viola Davis, as well as musicians including Miles Davis and Nina Simone.
Robert Beaser, 68, was placed on leave on Friday after being accused of abusing women for decades and promising to help their careers in exchange for sexual favors
New York’s prestigious Juilliard School of Performing Arts has been rocked by allegations of sexual misconduct
The move that put Beaver on leave came the same day that about 500 musicians and classical music leaders signed an open letter calling for action over his alleged ‘decades-long abuse of women and power.’
The allegations range from repeated sexual advances to sexual relationships with students between the late 1990s and 2000s.
The report cites a former student who described an instance “where Beaser offered her a promising career opportunity before attempting to obtain sexual favors in return.”
“What will you do for me?” said she asked Beaser.
The story also revealed how this student reported to the school that lessons with Beaser often took place at his off-campus apartment.
Four sources familiar with Beaser’s teaching at the time confirmed that he often taught students in his apartment.
The school’s vice president for public affairs, Rosalie Contreras, said Juilliard had launched independent investigations into Beaser in the late 1990s and again in 2017 and 2018.
“Allegations previously reported to The Juilliard School were addressed at that time, based on the information provided,” she said.
She also said an investigation into the new allegations described in VAN magazine had been opened.
‘Sexual discrimination and sexual harassment do not belong in our school community. We take all such allegations extremely seriously,’ Contreras said.
Robert Beaser (right), 68, and Christopher Rouse (left), who died in 2019, were both at the center of sexual misconduct allegations leveled at the prestigious Juilliard school
Juilliard said it launched independent investigations into Beaser in the late 1990s and again in 2017 and 2018
Another controversial figure at the center of the story was former Juilliard faculty member Christopher Rouse, who died in 2019.
Composer Suzanne Farrin told VAN that when she auditioned for the school’s composition program in 2001, when she met Rouse for dinner the next day to discuss the audition, he tried to kiss her.
“I kind of squirmed out of his arms and ran away,” Farrin said.
The day after the dinner, Farrin learned that her application to attend the school had been rejected.
A few days after her rejection, Farrin called the school and told them she wanted to report ‘an incident with a Juilliard faculty member.’
‘If you call about Professor Rouse, he’s a big fan of your music,’ said Farrin, the staff member replied.
“They were prepared for my call,” Farrin said.
Suzanne Farrin said a faculty member, Christopher Rouse, tried to kiss her after an audition in 2001
The VAN magazine story also suggests that John Corigliano, a prominent composer and faculty member since 1991, almost never accepted female students.
“I am saddened to read that you have been told by eight female students, formerly at The Juilliard School, that there was an unwritten policy whereby they perceived that I favored the men over the women,” Corigliano told VAN.
‘Such a position was neither my preference nor my policy. I have had the great pleasure of working with many very gifted young women and men in my long teaching career.’
John Corigliano, a prominent composer and faculty member since 1991, was accused of almost never accepting female students
Based in Manhattan, Juilliard is considered to be one of the most famous drama, music and dance schools in the world.
Juilliard’s provost, Adam Meyer, told faculty members in a letter Friday that “in light of the ongoing investigation and after discussions with Bob earlier this afternoon, we will notify you that Bob will be stepping down from his teaching duties and other faculty responsibilities pending the investigation is started.’
He added that the investigation would be conducted “in a confidential manner.”
“We would like to assure you that our processes and procedures ensure the fair and impartial treatment of all involved and we are committed to our work to resolve this matter,” he wrote.
Beaser, who chaired the composition department from 1994 to 2018, told The Washington Post on Sunday that he was ‘more than willing to participate in Juilliard’s external investigation to protect and defend my reputation.’