New York's famed Metropolitan Opera has severed ties with its longtime conductor and figurehead James Levine, its Music Director Emeritus and Artistic Director of its young-artist program, after completing an investigation into sexual misconduct claims. The company says "it would be inappropriate and impossible for Mr. Levine to continue to work at the Met".
He held the position of music director emeritus and remained head of its young artists program, but was suspended on December 3 after accounts surfaced in the New York Post and The New York Times of sexual misconduct dating back to the 1960s.
The Met said more than 70 people were interviewed during its investigation.
The conductor, now 74, was music director at the Met for 40 years.
The company said they found evidence of abuse and harassment "both before and during the period" he worked at the opera.
Three months after multiple men accused James Levine of sexual assault, the Metropolitan Opera officially fired the conductor.
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.
News of Levine's suspension came a day after a 2016 police report surfaced, accusing him of sexually abusing a teenager beginning in 1986.
The Met also strongly denied its management or directors had tried to cover up the allegations.
It has brought forward the appointment of Levine's successor, youthful French Canadian Yannick Nezet-Seguin, who will become music director with the upcoming season. Brown, who went on to play principal bass in the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, said that one night in the dorms, Levine had masturbated him and asked him to reciprocate - and then punished Brown when he declined to do so again, ignoring him for the rest of the summer, even when he was conducting him.
"I thought it was sex for my improvement, sex to make things better", violinist Albin Ifsich, who was a 20-year-old student when he said the abuse took place in 1968, told the newspaper.