Ten years ago, Nigel Kennedy told me in a BBC radio interview about the sexual abuse that went on while he was a student at the Yehudi Menuhin School. Others later told me of appalling incidents at other schools, but the music establishment called in its lawyers and it was difficult to arouse editorial or public attention into something as esoteric as classical music schools.
Now the world knows a fraction of what went on at Chetham’s. We owe it to the memory of Frances Andrade to ensure that these matters are fully investigated in a public forum, and that parents can sleep at night knowing that their gifted children are safe from predators.
The pianist,musicologist and teacher Ian Pace, himself a Chetams graduate, is leading the call for a public inquiry. We post his appeal below:
It is well-known within the music world that there are many other such stories from the 1970s and 1980s, involving a variety of individuals in positions of power at various music schools. Many of these people are extremely afraid to come forward with their stories, in a close-knit world of classical music in which careers are dependent upon the whims of a few powerful individuals. The tragic news of Frances Andrade’s death may instil more fear, though some may be at least emboldened by the verdict. There is now a real need for a full independent inquiry into sexual and physical abuse in classical music education during this time, and the various schools and colleges involved should show good faith by cooperating with this. There is a whole trail of victims with damaged lives who deserve the opportunity to be heard without fear. My address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Expect more horrors to be revealed in the week ahead.