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Conductor Carlos Kalmar cleared by investigation


An investigation into allegations against Carlos Kalmar, artistic director of the Grant Park Music Festival at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he teaches, concluded that the allegations against the conductor did not constitute sexual harassment or gender-based discrimination and did not violate Title IX. To a letter emailed Monday to conservatory faculty, staff, and students.

Carole Rendon, a former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio and partner at BakerHostenler law firm, led the investigation. His report, which compiles interviews with more than 30 CIM students, faculty, and staff, and other written and video evidence provided by both parties, was reviewed by Dean Southern, acting Title IX coordinator, CIM’s dean and vice president of academic and student affairs.

In Monday’s letter, Southern concluded that Kalmar’s conduct had “no purpose or effect to significantly or unreasonably interfere with a person’s participation in educational programs or activities.” It also said Kalmar’s behavior “does not discriminate on the basis of gender and is not so severe or pervasive as to create an objectively offensive environment at CIM that hinders everyone’s equal access to gender-based educational opportunities.”

Kalmar and the complainants were briefed on the findings Monday afternoon, and a campus-wide update was posted that evening “in light of the public interest surrounding this case.” Both parties have five business days to appeal the decision.

Paul Winberg, CEO and president of the Grant Park Music Festival, told the Tribune that the result “further reinforces our decision to move forward this spring as our Artistic Director and Chief Conductor through Carlos Kalmar’s 2024 season.”

“At the Grant Park Music Festival, we are all pleased to learn that the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM) has had to dismiss the formal complaint against Carlos Kalmar as a result of an investigation by an outside law firm to ensure a fair, impartial and fair environment. “We appreciate CIM’s unconventional strides in making the results of their investigations public, given the thorough nature of its investigation and the media attention stemming from the previous inappropriate disclosure of unsubstantiated and anonymous accusations,” Winberg wrote.

Claims about Kalmar came to the attention of the public In April, shortly after CIM’s then Title IX compliance director sent an email to all students requesting more information from those who had “experienced (or observed) behavior that could be considered sexual harassment on behalf of Mr.

Kalmar has been teaching at CIM since 2021 as director of the conservatory’s orchestral and conducting programs. That same year, she announced her intention to leave her role as Grant Park for the 2024 season, partly to focus on her role in CIM.

A CIM press representative provided a copy of Southern’s letter to the Tribune, but declined to comment further. Kalmar did not respond to Tribune’s requests for comment until press time.

Hannah Edgar is a freelance critic.

The Rubin Institute for Music Criticism helps fund our classical music coverage. The Chicago Tribune retains editorial control over assignments and content.


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