Philharmonic seeks to fire two musicians for misconduct

The New York Philharmonic said on Monday it tried to fire two performers in 2018 but was forced to rehire them after the musicians union challenged the firings, after a magazine article detailed the circumstances of the two players, who were temporarily unavailable. Will attend rehearsals or performances.

The Philharmonic said principal oboist Wang Liang and associate principal trumpeter Matthew Mulkey will not appear as the orchestra deals with the fallout from a New York magazine article published on Friday.

In the article, former Philharmonic horn player Cara Kizer comes forward for the first time to publicly discuss an encounter that occurred in 2010 while she was on tour with the Philharmonic in Vail, Colorado. : According to police records, she was sexually assaulted after spending a night with two players and drinking a drink she believed was drugged.

No charges have been filed against the pair, who have both denied wrongdoing; their lawyers said they expected to return to the band soon.

In 2018, the Philharmonic fired Mr. Wang and Mr. Mulkey, who had both joined the orchestra in 2006. . But the players’ union, American Federation of Musicians Local 802, challenged their dismissals.

The band was forced to resume performances in 2020 after an independent arbitrator found that the band had been terminated without just cause.

Gary Ginsling, the Philharmonic’s current president and chief executive, said in an interview on Monday that the New York magazine report “sparked a lot of strong feelings” and confirmed that Mr. Mulkey and Mr. Wang had not Play in an orchestra.

King’s Lynn declined to say when they would rejoin the band or whether the band would seek termination again. But he noted that the Philharmonic faced restrictions as a result of the 2020 ruling, which the orchestra criticized at the time.

“This decision was made through binding arbitration,” Mr King’s Lin said. “Binding is the keyword.”

The orchestra committee, which represents the players, said in a statement that “the overwhelming sentiment in the orchestra leads us to believe Cara” and “we do not believe these are isolated incidents involving Matt Mulkey and Wang Liang.” The committee added , the orchestra has a “culture of not taking musician complaints seriously, so musicians often feel unsafe when making allegations of sexual harassment and assault” and called on management to take action to provide a safe workplace.

Local 802 President and Executive Director Sara Cutler, who took over last year, struck a different tone than her predecessor. She said in a statement on Monday that the decision to temporarily keep Mr. Wang and Mr. Markey off the stage “is a good first step, but it cannot be the last.”

“As a woman, a musician, and a new union president,” she said, “I am appalled by the content of this story, and we are devoting the full resources of Local 802 to dismantling the culture of complicity that rages within the New York Philharmonic. It has taken too long. .

At the time of the encounter, Ms. Keizer had not yet received tenure in the orchestra. She eventually left the band, but did not discuss the process with New York magazine.

She said in a statement on Monday that since the article was published, she had “received numerous emails from survivors around the world and discovered that my experience was not an isolated one in our industry.”

“I’m grateful for everyone’s support and I know I’m not alone,” she said.

Mr. Wang’s attorney, Alan S. Lewis, disputed the suggestion that Mr. Wang’s client engaged in any wrongdoing and pointed to the arbitrator’s ruling.

“The Philharmonic decided that it would be best to give Liang and one other musician a break for a few weeks while the Philharmonic dealt with the firestorm caused by the distorted article,” Lewis said in a statement. “Liang loved the Philharmonic and his colleagues, whom he holds in high esteem and always treats with respect and dignity. He looks forward to returning to the Philharmonic stage as soon as possible.

Mr. Mulkey’s lawyer, Steven J. Hyman, said the report “should not be the basis for any adverse action” by the Philharmonic.

“We anticipate that Mr. Mulkey will be able to reinstate the deputy chief speaker, thus putting this matter to rest once and for all,” he said.

The orchestra’s musicians issued a statement on social media on Saturday, calling on the orchestra’s players and its management to help ensure a safe environment.

“We wholeheartedly condemn and consider all behavior that violates and insults the women in our band to be abhorrent,” the statement read. “This behavior is an affront to women everywhere. This behavior will never be tolerated.”

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