Former Oregon Symphony Conductor Carlos Kalmar Faces Student Protest in Cleveland

At the Cleveland Institute of Music, where Kalmar is a principal conductor, students held a sit-in after he was cleared in a Title IX investigation.

Carlos Kalmar (Leah Nash)

Carlos Kalmar, who served as music director of the Oregon Symphony for 18 years, was cleared last month by a Title IX investigation into allegations of “inappropriate behavior” at the Cleveland Institute of Music.

Now, students at CIM, where Kalmar, 65, is a principal conductor and director of orchestral studies, are protesting the outcome of the investigation, holding a sit-in in response to what they describe as “the administration’s reluctant and inadequate response” to “copious allegations” against Kalmar (who did not respond to WW’s request for comment).

“While it may be true that the investigation did not find sufficient evidence to warrant an official Title IX hearing, it is vital to distinguish between the lack of evidence that would prompt a hearing and Mr. Kalmar’s purported innocence,” read a letter of protest, signed by 112 students and alumni, sent to CIM president Paul Hogle.

The sit-in was held Sept. 13, according to online VAN Magazine. During the orchestra’s first rehearsal of the academic year, many of Kalmar’s students (joined by 100 supporters in the audience) dressed in blue and sat silently in protest of Kalmar’s return to CIM.

In their investigation, VAN spoke to nearly 30 CIM students, faculty, and staff. Complaints against Kalmar cite accusations of bullying, favoring male students, and scheduling a high number of rehearsals per week—six—that some consider to be excessive even by professional standards.

Kalmar was cleared by the Title IX investigation in early August. “Based on the evidence found in the investigative report, CIM has concluded that the specific allegations against Carlos Kalmar did not violate the Sexual Assault, Sexual Harassment, and Sex Non-Discrimination Policy Under Title IX,” acting Title IX coordinator Dean Southern said in a statement.

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