CHICAGO (CelebrityAccess) — The Chicago-based Ravinia Festival announced that it has severed all ties with James Levine as he faces multiple allegations of sexual misconduct, ending a 44-year relationship with the noted conductor.
Levine stands accused by four men of sexual misconduct against them while they were students. The most recent accuser, Albin Ifsich, said on Monday that Levine abused him for several years beginning in 1968 while he was a student at the Meadow Brook School of Music, a summer program in Michigan where Mr. Levine was a member of the faculty.
In a statement released on Monday, a spokesperson for the Ravinia wrote:
“Based on recent accounts in the media regarding James Levine, Ravinia has severed all ties with (him). 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.”
The severing of ties is an abrupt turnaround for the Levine, who had planned to assume a five-year terms as conductor laureate at the music festival. Other organizations to distances themselves from Levine include the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, who said they were waiting for the findings of ongoing investigations before moving further.
“The CSOA finds (the Levine) allegations deeply troubling,” a statement from the orchestra's association on Monday said. “We understand that the Ravinia Festival is awaiting the findings of the current investigations and will take action as appropriate.”
The Met also took steps against Levine, announcing on Monday that they had suspended the conductor while the investigated the allegations against him. As well, they canceled his upcoming appearances, including a new production of Puccini’s “Tosca” on New Year’s Eve.
“Together with general manager Peter Gelb, we are committed to a complete investigation of the allegations against Mr. Levine, and we would like to assure you and all of the Met’s loyal donors that the company will be taking all appropriate actions,” the two Met officials wrote in the email. “We also want to assure you that we will never lose focus on our artistic mission to continue to deliver performances of the highest artistic level to our audience,” Ann Ziff, chairwoman of the Met’s board of directors, and Judith-Ann Corrente, its president and chief executive officer, wrote in a letter to Met donors that was obtained by the New York Times.