Carlos Kalmar, who served as music director of the Oregon Symphony for 18 years, is facing a Title IX investigation into allegations of “inappropriate behavior.” The inquiry was launched by the Cleveland Institute of Music, where Kalmar has been a principal conductor since 2021 (he’s also the institute’s director of orchestral studies).
Title IX is the federal civil rights law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in schools and education programs that benefit from federal funding.
Cleveland.com reported that Vivian Scott, the conservatory’s Title IX coordinator, addressed the claims about Kalmar in an April 27 email that was sent to students.
“It was with great horror that I read one of Carlos Kalmar’s course evaluations,” Scott wrote. “This is not the first time that I have heard his name—detailing inappropriate behavior of varying degrees.”
She added, “I am conducting an investigation into Mr. Kalmar’s behavior, but I need your help....If you have experienced (or observed) behavior on Mr. Kalmar’s behalf that can be considered sexual harassment, please contact me if you are willing to provide details.”
Kalmar has denied the allegations against him.
Kalmar’s attorney, James Wooley, told Cleveland.com that his client “has never been accused of wrongdoing in his impeccable 40-plus-year career.” He stated that Kalmar “has been improperly identified in connection with a possible Title IX matter.”
Kalmar’s 16-year tenure in Portland was marked by contention, if nothing on the scale of what’s unfolding in Cleveland. A profile in Portland Monthly characterized him as egocentric and aloof, in addition to detailing his controversial 2006 firing of flutist Dawn Weiss. This prompted six musicians to leave voluntarily, according to Kenneth Shirk, the former secretary-treasurer for the American Federation of Musicians, Local 99.
Kalmar, who is Uruguayan by way of Vienna, is also the principal conductor of the Grant Park Music Festival in Chicago.