The message below was shared with the Boston Philharmonic community on November 5, 2018, regarding recent events at the Boston Philharmonic.
Dear Boston Philharmonic Community,
We are writing regarding today’s article in the Boston Globe.
The last month has been incredibly difficult for the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra and Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra communities. All of us are still shocked by the separate and distinct incidents involving two of our now former employees, the details of which were highlighted again in today’s news.
To be clear, we have zero tolerance for such reprehensible behavior. Upon learning of these incidents, we acted diligently and quickly, immediately suspending the individuals in question to protect the safety and wellbeing of our entire community. Additional information about each of these situations can be found in letters that were distributed to the BPO and BPYO on September 26 and October 12 and to our full community on October 16.
As you will recall from these communications, we also engaged an outside law firm to perform a full and impartial investigation of our organization and our leadership. It is in the best interest of all involved for an objective third-party to examine these particular situations and our leaders and alert us to any other issues that might require our attention. That review is ongoing, but we can confirm that one additional employee has been placed on administrative leave. We are limited in what we can say about that specific matter, including the circumstances concerning the employee, pending the completion of the investigation.
Outside of these specific incidents, we are equally troubled by how our organization was portrayed in its response to internal concerns and lack of process. We recognize that we have been less than perfect in the past, which is why we consistently strive to improve our organization. To our knowledge, any and all concerns that have been reported to us have been acted upon as promptly as possible.
It has become clear to us that there are significant changes that still need to be made within our organization, particularly as it relates to making sure our professionals and musicians feel as though their voices are being heard. To that end, over the course of the last month, we have held multiple meetings both with individual members and small and large groups of all constituencies of our organization on a nearly daily basis. We have greatly appreciated the candor that our community has displayed during these sessions, and we are in the process of establishing regular forums so that we can continue to hear from our community in open settings.
In addition, as we indicated in internal meetings and in our previous communications, we consistently review our policies and procedures to ensure they reflect best practices for the health and safety of our community. As such, we distributed an employee handbook to the staff and issued an organization-wide Harassment Prevention Policy and Whistleblower Policy to all of our musicians and staff. These policies clearly outline healthy behavior and procedures for reporting misconduct. We have also arranged for organization-wide harassment prevention training to take place in the near future.
The BPYO is a tuition-free ensemble, thanks to the generous support of our donors. In particular, the Wyss grants have afforded dozens of young musicians much-needed additional support to pursue their musical studies. These grants are awarded to members of the BPYO based on demonstrated financial need. To the best of our knowledge, almost every student who meets the criteria has been awarded a grant, but we recognize that a more formal application process should be in place to determine awardees. That process will be instituted shortly.
We greatly appreciate your continued support. We know we have work to do, and we remain committed to educating, training, and mentoring the next generation of great leaders.