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Boston’s Zander scandal: It’s a partial climbdown

After firing Benjamin Zander in disgrace, the New England Conservatory has finally acknowledged his immense contribution to the school as an inspirational conducting teacher and awarded him an honorary title.

It does not compensate for his unfair dismissal or the unnecessary shame he has suffered for being accused of hiring a videographer with a criminal past – a man who was also employed by his tormentor, NEC President Tony Woodcock. But it allows Zander to get on with his life and Woodcock to work out his miserable time at NEC in relative comfort. We are glad that Zander’s innocence has been acknowledged and that the matter can finally be laid to rest.

Here is Benjamin Zander’s statement:

Some Good News (Ben Zander and the New England Conservatory)

Posted: 2012-07-11 17:43:00

Ben Zander and the New England Conservatory (NEC)
Some good news

I am glad to be able to say that the journey that began with my dismissal on January 12 has reached a satisfactory conclusion.
On July 9, 2012 the President of the Conservatory issued a statement addressed to ‘Trustees, Overseers, Faculty and Staff’. The statement said that ‘to promote healing and harmony, NEC wishes to acknowledge Ben’s significant contributions to the school during the past forty-five years’ and that NEC was therefore conferring upon me the honorific title of Faculty Emeritus of the New England Conservatory and Preparatory School.
The exchange of letters between the Conservatory and myself is accessible by the links below.
I am well satisfied with this outcome. The new honorific titles that the NEC has bestowed on me signal to the world that I have been re-established in the NEC community, while I look forward to new opportunities that have presented themselves, including the establishment of a new youth orchestra under the aegis of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra (BPO).
I have major plans for the immediate future. I will, of course, be conducting the thirty fourth season of the BPO ( The new Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (BPYO) is scheduled to give its first concert on November 25 in Symphony Hall, Boston with Alicia Weilerstein as soloist. The next instalment of my Mahler symphony cycle with the Philharmonia on the Telarc label (The Resurrection) will be issued soon and I have taken up several invitations to guest conduct and offer Master Classes in different countries. Also, it looks likely that I will be invited to give my advanced “Interpretation Class” at the Music Department of a major local university.
So I am fully back in business and in fine form.



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  1. Martin Bookspan says:

    Dear Ben,

    I’m delighted to hear the good news—-which can only be trumped by the Conservatory giving the boot to Woodcock!

    Much good luck to you on all your future endeavors.

  2. Melissa says:

    As an NEC alum, I’m thrilled by this news.

  3. Bill Clinton also apologized to Rwanda, for all the good it did. True vindication will not be achieved until as Martin Bookspan says, Tony Woodcock is given the boot.
    Thanks again, Norman, for keeping on top of this and other similar outrages around the world

  4. Daniel Farber says:

    If Ben is happy, who am I to complain. I still believe he was treated in a shabby way that continues to reflect poorly on NEC’s leaders. Evidently some people among them feel the same way or at least are sensitive to the wide public disapproval of its policies and the shame that these have brought to the institution.

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