An open letter demanding that the Juilliard School take immediate action against composer Robert Beaser, the former chair of the institution’s composition department, for alleged “decades-long abuse of women and power” has been signed by more than 500 musicians and leaders in the classical music community.
The letter was first published Friday; later that afternoon, as the list of signatures grew, Beaser, 68, had taken leave from his teaching position, NPR reports.
Juilliard — the Manhattan music school that counts Robin Williams, Viola Davis, Jessica Chastain, Barry Manilow, and many more famed artists among their graduates — has launched an investigation into the allegations.
“In light of the ongoing investigation, and following discussions with Bob [Beaser] earlier this afternoon, we want to notify you that Bob will step away from his teaching duties and other faculty responsibilities while the investigation is being conducted,” Juilliard Provost Adam Meyer said in a letter to composition faculty members on Friday, according to the Washington Post. “This change will be effective immediately.”
A rep for Juilliard did not immediately respond to Rolling Stone‘s request for comment.
Last week, the German-based VAN magazine published the findings of a six-month investigation into allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct against several Juilliard faculty members. Beaser, the magazine states, “faces multiple, previously-undisclosed allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct from the late 1990s and 2000s.”
The magazine also includes claims of other misconduct at the school, including allegations against Pulitzer- and Grammy-winning composer Christopher Rouse and longtime Juilliard professor and composer John Corigliano.
As of Monday, the letter signatories include current professors at Harvard, Princeton, and Yale as well as Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music, and Juilliard itself. Several high-profile names have also signed the open letter, including Missy Mazzoli, Tyondai Braxton, Vijay Iyer, Andrew Norman, and Claire Chase.