New York Philharmonic Musicians Suspended Over Sexual Assault Allegations Sue Orchestra And Union

Two members of the New York Philharmonic dumped for the second time over a 14-year-old rape allegation want the country’s most prestigious orchestra and their union to face the music.

The orchestra’s associate principal trumpet, Matthew Muckey, and the principal oboist, Liang Wang, are each suing the Philharmonic and the musicians’ union Local 802 after being ousted for the second time in four years.

They had been investigated and lost their jobs in 2018, during the MeToo movement, but got their seats in the orchestra back in 2020 after their union took up their cause and won a binding arbitration.

Associate principal trumpet player Matthew Muckey of the New York Philharmonic has been suspended for a second time from the orchestra because of 14-year-old rape allegations — but is fighting back in court.

But in April they were told they would not be playing indefinitely when the alleged victim spoke in detail to New York Magazine and the orchestra announced a fresh investigation into the orchestra’s “culture” by an outside attorney.

Now Muckey, 39, and Wang, 44, have for breach of contract and are asking for their jobs back and unspecified damages, according to federal lawsuits filed Wednesday in the Southern District of New York.

In the article Cara Kizer, 44, a former horn player with the Philharmonic, detail her allegation that the pair drugged and raped her in their rented condo in Vail, Colorado, during the 2010 Bravo! Vail Valley music festival.

Kizer reported the alleged rape to Vail police but the district attorney ultimately decided there was insufficient evidence to press charges.

The alleged attack was an open secret in the world of classical music but was not made public until the height of the MeToo movement in 2018 when, under pressure from its members, the Philharmonic suspended Muckey and Wang and commissioned a former judge to investigate.

Liang Wang was the principal oboist of the New York Philharmonic until he was ousted for a second time over allegations that he was involved in the drugging and rape of a horn player. Getty Images

The probe resulted in Muckey and Wang being dismissed but their union, Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians, contested their firings.

An independent arbitrator found they had been removed without cause and the Philharmonic had to reinstate them in 2020.

“We are profoundly disappointed by the arbitrator’s decision,” the Philharmonic said in a statement at the time, adding “we will, as we must, abide by the arbitrator’s ruling.”

But the tables have turned on Muckey and Wang once again by being removed from the orchestra’s line-up.

This time they are also suing their union, which is no longer supporting them and has called for a change in the orchestra’s “culture.”

“The matter has been investigated and put to bed and it is time for it to end,” Steven Hyman, Muckey’s attorney told The Post.

Cara Kizer, a former horn player with the New York Philharmonic, told New York magazine last month that two fellow orchestra members drugged and raped her in 2010.

“The fact is the Philharmonic has acted inappropriately and the union in some ways even worse. Matt should be back working at the Philharmonic again.

“It’s unfortunate if the donors and trustees find it uncomfortable but that’s what the judicial system has determined.”

Wang’s attorney, Alan Lewis, said, “Local 802 has not stood up for its loyal member, Liang Wang, even when he has been subject to mistreatment from his employer – without being accused of anything.”

The Philharmonic declined to comment but shared an email sent from CEO Gary Ginstling to its members which announced the new investigation and Muckey and Wang’s suspension “while we work through this process.”

“Nothing is more important than the culture of our orchestra and the safety of our musicians and staff, and it is only through this process that we will build the kind of vibrant and inclusive culture we all want,” Ginstling wrote.

Oboist Liang Wang performing Poul Ruders’s “Oboe Concerto” with the New York Philharmonic led by Alan Gilbert. Getty Images

The Post has reached out to Local 802 for comment.

Kizer did not return a call from The Post but told New York Magazine that after their concert on July 24, 2010, she had gone to Muckey and Wang’s condo after learning that her husband was going to be delayed in arriving in Vail.

Kizer said Wang brought her a glass of red wine after the two tried to get her to join them in the hot tub — and doesn’t remember anything after that.

Kizer told the magazine that she woke up naked and sick in Muckey’s bed and saw vomit stains around the bed.

A letter posted to Instagram by the Orchestra Committee of the New York Philharmonic after Kizer detailed her allegations. nypmusicians/Instagram

Muckey later told Vail cops that the two had had consensual sex.

The local DA did not pursue charges.

Kizer, the second woman ever hired for the orchestra’s brass, had been on probation and left in 2012 with a six-figure settlement, according to New York magazine.

Amanda Stewart, the first orchestra member to see her after the alleged rape became one of her staunchest supporters and is now her romantic partners after Kizer’s divorce.

“The Philharmonic is so f—ed right now,” a classical musician who knows some of those involved told The Post.

“To win a seat in the New York Philharmonic is like winning a gold medal at the Olympics. If you’re Muckey and Wang you don’t want to give that up.

“But if the Philharmonic didn’t suspend them again now, it’s clear they would be facing massive blowback from donors and board members.”

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top