A massive sexual misconduct scandal rocked the elite school of music at Juilliard, with several teachers accused of discrimination and harassment — and a famous professor was placed on furlough after 500 people signed a letter condemning his “mistreatment of women and power.”
Composer Robert Peiser, 68, was sidelined by a pattern of abuse that included soliciting sex from students — much of which was detailed in a Dec. 12 exhibition from the Upper West Side Conservatory published in VAN magazine.
“Sexism and sexual harassment have no place in our school community,” Juilliard spokeswoman Rosalie Contreras told The Post Wednesday as news of Besser’s furlough broke.
In one case, Beaser allegedly offered to boost a now-former student’s career, before asking her for sex in return, the post states.
“What will you do for me?” He allegedly said.
Beaser—who frequently taught students in his own home—joined the Juilliard Composition Department in 1993, and was department chair from 1994 through 2018.
The school was reportedly made aware of the allegations against him in the 1990s and again in 2017 and 2018.
Although the 2018 report coincided with Beaser’s replacement as president by Melinda Wagner, Contreras told VAN the decisions were irrelevant.
She explained to The Post that “allegations previously reported … in the late 1990s and in 2017/18 were investigated at that time, based on the information that was provided.”
However, in order to review the new information and better understand these earlier allegations, the current school administration launched an independent investigation on December 8.
According to the Daily Mail, Dean Andy Meyer made it clear to faculty in an email dated December 16 that Beaser will “resign from his teaching duties” while an investigation is underway.
The decision to put Beaser on leave also coincided with the publication of an open letter signed by 500 musicians, composers and other music leaders denouncing his “decades of abuse of women and power”.
Beaser did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment, though he did tell VAN he would “cooperate” with the investigation.
In addition to Beaser, the VAN segment detailed alleged misconduct by the late Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and faculty member Christopher Ross, whom composer Susan Farren says he tried to kiss after dinner to discuss her exam for a PhD program in 2001.
After she “came out of his arms and… ran away,” Farren told the magazine, her Juilliard application was denied. When she called to report the incident, my manager insisted that Ross had been a “huge supporter” of her music.
“They were ready for my call,” Fran recalled.
The VAN article also includes a claim from eight female alumni that another faculty member, Academy Award-winning composer John Corigliano, rarely admits female students.
“It was said like a joke,” Christina Spinney, an alumnus, told the outlet. “You can’t study with him” or something like that.
Although associate faculty member Samuel Adler asserted that Corigliano did not take female students “in the beginning,” Corigliano denied the accusations to the magazine.
He said, “It saddens me to read that eight female students have told you, formerly at the Juilliard School, that there is an unwritten policy by which they see me as favoring men over women.”
“Such a situation was neither my preference nor my policy. I have had the great pleasure of working with so many very talented young women and men in my long teaching career.”
Corigliano did not respond to The Post’s request for comment.
Many of the former students cited in the VAN story felt that recognition of Juilliard’s problematic culture was long overdue.
“I wouldn’t even call it an open secret. These women feel incredibly vulnerable. If they come forward they have no protection… They have no guarantees that anyone will listen.”
Nora Kroll Rosenbaum, another Genesis alumnus, echoed Karpman’s sentiment, saying that female students feel safe studying with “less than half” the faculty.
Founded in 1905, Juilliard is widely regarded as one of the best performing arts conservatories in the world. With a respected alumni community of award-winning actors, musicians, and dancers, proponent Sarah Kirkland Snyder has argued that the school has a “huge responsibility.”
“When you take pride in being the best in the country or in the world, people look up to you according to their own standards and expectations,” said Snyder, who never attended Juilliard. “Teachers at other schools knew about it, and they pointed it out. It became a joke, a running joke.”
In her statement to The Post, Contreras said the school remained “committed to providing a safe and supportive environment for all.”
She concluded, “We cannot comment further as confidentiality is critical to the integrity of an investigation, and discussion of issues can discourage individuals from moving forward with their trials.”
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