Met Opera fires longtime conductor after sexual abuse investigation

James Levine in 2009

The allegations detailed in the NYT included assertions that Levine engaged in sexual activity with teenage boy musicians in ensembles he conducted, and go as far back as 1968, when he was a member of the faculty at the Meadow Brook School of Music in MI.

The Met's statement said that its investigation found Levine "engaged in sexually abusive and harassing conduct towards vulnerable artists in the early stages of their careers".

Levine was suspended by the Met in December pending the investigation.

The Met hired former U.S. Attorney Robert J. Cleary, now a partner at Proskauer Rose, to head its investigation, and the company said more than 70 people were interviewed.

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He was revered by the Met's orchestra, board and patrons during a reign as chief conductor (1973-76), music director (1976-86 and 2004-16) and artistic director (1986-2004).

On Monday, the Metropolitan Opera announced that it severed ties with its longtime music and artistic director James Levine, pictured here in a 2006 photo.

The company said they found evidence of abuse and harassment "both before and during the period" he worked at the opera.

Many of Levine's performances were televised by the Public Broadcasting Service, and singers rearranged their schedules to appear in his performances or even to audition for him.

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The move to suspend Levine came after the New York Post first reported that one of Levine's accusers claimed he had sexual contact with Levine as a teenager.

Earlier during the investigation, Levine denied the allegations stating the accusations were "unfounded" and that "I have not lived my life as an oppressor or an aggressor". Days later, another man told The Times that Levine had also abused him when he was in his 20s. Met officials said they were launching an investigation.

Levine has always been one of the most famous maestros in the world of classical music, and for more than 40 years his career has been entwined with the Met, where he served as music director from 1976-2016.

Other musicians who have quit or lost positions over alleged abuse include hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons and Charles Dutoit, until recently the principal conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London.

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