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The weirdest reasons to leave an orchestra

Richard Dare has resigned as president and chief executive of the New Jersey Symphony nine days after starting the job.

The official statement reads: ‘As information new to the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra emerged about Richard Dare’s background, Mr. Dare tendered his resignation to the Symphony on January 11.’

Richard Dare

That information concerns a long-gone conviction for ‘an attempted lewd act’ with a 15 year old girl who became at 18, and remains, his wife. Hardly a hanging offence.

More pertinent, perhaps, is an investigation by the New York Times into his business background. This, however, reveals nothing more than a repetitive tendency to embellish the truth. There is no evidence of any criminal activity.

All they are saying is that Mr Dare exaggerates. Lots of orchestra managers do. It’s in the job description.

So why, really why, was he fired? Were these inconsistencies unsuspected when he was previously head of the Brooklyn Philharmonic? There is more to this story than has yet come to light.

Here’s Dare on TV two weeks ago:

Watch NJ Symphony Orchestra’s New CEO Connects Music to Learning on PBS. See more from NJToday.

And here’s the full press release:

NEWARK, NJ (January 12, 2013)—As information new to the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra emerged about Richard
Dare’s background, Mr. Dare tendered his resignation to the Symphony on January 11, effective immediately. Co-Chairs
of the Board of Trustees Stephen Sichak and Ruth Lipper accepted the resignation, acknowledging the distraction the
situation could bring to bear on the important work of the Symphony.
Sichak and Lipper said: “We are deeply disappointed, and we are thankful we are able to move forward quickly. Longtime
Vice President of Operations and General Manager Susan Stucker will again step in as Interim President & CEO, and she
will lead the NJSO as it continues its 2012–13 concert season. The Board will be continuing the search process with vigor
as we identify a successor CEO.”
The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra is comprised of some of the country’s finest musicians. The Orchestra is proud to
have Jacques Lacombe as its Music Director. Artistic excellence, innovative programming and community engagement
are hallmarks of its mission. To best serve the people of New Jersey, the orchestra brings its programs to seven
outstanding venues throughout the state. Education and community engagement programs enrich the listening
experience for children and adults alike. Select performances of the NJSO are broadcast regionally and throughout North
For more information about the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, visit or email Tickets are available for purchase by phone 1.800.ALLEGRO (255.3476) or on the
Orchestra’s website.
The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra’s programs are made possible in part by The New Jersey State Council on the
Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, along with many other foundations,
corporations and individual donors. United is the official airline of the NJSO.
National & NYC Press Representative:
Dan Dutcher, Dan Dutcher Public Relations | 917.566.8413 |
Regional Press Representative:
Victoria McCabe, NJSO Communications and External Affairs | 973.735.1715 |

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  1. Alex Klein says:

    Sad tendency – on some – to hold people accountable for standards which they themselves would not be able to withstand if subjected to. Its “the endless pursuit of perfection on others” at work.

  2. Larry Fried says:

    As a professional performing arts manager, I am deeply offended by your remark. Please provide your proof that “lots of orchestra managers” lie about their experience. (What a coincidence. I heard the same thing about music critics.)

    Do you honestly feel that a “repetitive tendency to embellish the truth” is an admirable quality? Suppose that the New Jersey Symphony was suffering from serious financial problems and Mr. Dare “embellished” the truth about that. Embellishing the truth is a fancy way of saying “lying.”

    You also neglected to mention that Mr. Dare was a registered sex offender.

    There may, indeed, be more to this story but your glib remarks are completely inappropriate.

  3. You said that “he was fired”, yet he resigned his post. After reading the NYT article, it does seem that he has a bit of a problem with reality when it comes down to his résumé, etc. Good thing that he resigned instead of dragging this issue on for weeks or even months.

    If it were only the sex offense, it would have been bad enough. After all, he was the girl’s teacher at the time. Even if they did get married later on, it’s hardly behavior that one could pass over as being innocuous.

  4. Larry Fried says:

    I do apologize for misquoting you, Mr. Lebrecht. But, according to my trusty old Random House Dictionary of the English Language, “exaggerate” means: (1) to magnify beyond the limits of the truth; overstate; represent disproportionately.

    “Beyond the limits of the truth” would be…lying. No?

    • These are alternate shades of meaning. My intent was the second option. Let’s not get caught in semantics.

    • Look at the press release: “The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra is comprised of some of the country’s finest musicians.”

      I think this confirms and underlines what Norman meant.

      • Terry Carlson says:

        I’m not all that familiar with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, but I do know they perform just a hop, skip and a jump from Manhattan. Not every “finest musician” in that area plays with the NY Philharmonic or the Met Opera Orchestra, so I would imagine that, yes, their players are very probably among the finest in the country. Just a hunch.

        • The “Joisy” symphony orkestra is ok. Some very good players, some so, so, and maybe a couple of dead- very dead- weight. As for the town, you could take a position on either side of the gun control issue and
          it would be a valid one.

  5. everywhere madness

  6. Vinyl Hero says:

    All other things being equal (the “attempted lewd act,” the smoke-and-mirror private enterprise), precisely what did Mr. Dare accomplish in his curiously brief tenure at the Brooklyn Philharmonic that inspired New Jersey Symphony officials to hire him? With all due respect to the celebrity participants like Yasiin Bey (formerly Mos Def) in the Brooklyn Phil’s programming and to the ensemble itself which has historically operated against the grain, a handful of community-oriented concerts and Dare’s own pleonastic ramblings on Huffington Post a success story do not make.

  7. This sort of story can ONLY come out of the United States. If a person’s background is suspected of including something ‘criminal’ in it, then there are only two questions to be asked, first, was the person accused and convicted of the ‘crime’. Second, what relevance does the act have on their task at hand and the position that they have been named to. If, as is the case here, from what I understand, the man is being accused of having made sexual overtures towards a minor, who was his student, but later became his wife and the man was not judged and convicted of anything, then he is innocent.

    The United States thrives on these sorts of stories on a daily basis. It is at the heart of their entire system. If one scratches the surface of any person, anybody, one can always dig up some ‘dirt’. The idea that every leader must embody perfection, have a faultless past, is utter stupidity and what makes the U.S. way of doing things so repugnant and hypocritical. They believe that their president must be perfect, their directors must be perfect. We, as humans, are not perfect, that’s why we are humans. The U.S. is certainly not a place where any sane person would want to live or work!

    • I see, after reading further, that Mr. Dare was convicted of and charged with an “attempted lewd act upon” [a 15-year-old girl]. The case was later dismissed by the court. (Quote: “The court documents show that the case was dismissed in 1999 and his probation cut short by a year.”) That should be the end of the story. If punishment is about rehabilitation and not about retribution, and we have belief in and uphold the decisions of the judicial system, then there is no justification for forcing him to leave his job at The New Jersey Symphony nearly fifteen years after the event took place. This American lust for endlessly hunting down the “bad guy” in their society is reprehensible. Perhaps the “bad guy” is in fact each and every one of them and by projecting and deflecting it upon others, they feel that they can purify and expunge themselves in the process. What a perverse system of “justice”.

  8. Larry Fried says:

    Bravo to Vinyl Hero for your excellent observations. You are absolutely right! Wasn’t Mr. Dare also chosen as a “rising star” by Musical America, after just a few months after being in Brooklyn.

  9. David Wainwright says:

    It’s sad that a highly talented person must resign for relatively picayune issue from 15 years ago. Mr. Dare disclosed his arrest to the NJSO when they hired him, so his resignation appears to be driven by outside pressure put on the NJSO. The other thought that comes to mind is that this is a gross misapplication of the law. States have age of consent laws to prevent juveniles from sexual exploitation, but there’s no evidence of that here. The so-called victim married Mr. Dare, and based on the minimal punishment, it appears that California considered this a minor infraction. The NJSO should ignore the uncultured trash who like to cut down the successful, and immediately reinstate Richard Dare.

  10. Actually we only know what they are telling us. There may be more. He may have been caught once, but victimized more, but we don’t know that. from what is being said. To suggest that he is the victim of “… American lust for endlessly hunting down the “bad guy..” is perhaps a hasty judgment until we know more, if we ever will. it will be interesting to see if he surfaces somewhere else.

  11. Ginger Carroll says:

    So the menfolk think it is ok that the creepy Richard Dare was banging his 15 year old student. Do you guys have any daughters? It is ok if the rapist marries his victim? Damn.
    And he lied about everything in his background. This man is so hinky it is amazing he ever got hired for anything. He says he testified before congress about non-profits since he ran the one in brooklyn for a few months? He seems to have no management experience whatsoever. What exactly did he do?
    The worst thing is that the hiring committee at the NJSO knew that he banged his student. And that was ok until the Times outed him. The last CEO was sleeping with staff members, they bought instruments from a crook, what else has to happen before the entire board is replaced?

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