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‘Celebrated concert pianist’ is charged with underage sex abuse inside Lincoln Center

Hyung-Min Suh, 23, has been accused of molesting a 16 year-old girl pupil in his Lincoln Center teaching office. Read more here. Pre-trial presumptions of innocence apply.

A pupil of Emmanuel Ax, Suh is a prizewinner at several international competitions. He withdrew from the Van Cliburn this year at a very late stage, ‘for personal reasons.’


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  1. 16-23, that’s a nothing age-gap. I just hope he did something serious… well, hope he didn’t, but I hope my meaning is understood. Ridiculous. Dogma gone mad if the particulars of the case was a consenting liaison, defined as criminal only by a a digit or two..

    • Lauren M. Lynley says:

      There are so many things wrong with your comment I don’t even know where to begin. I will say only that it is not about the age-gap in this case, it is the power dynamic. I have only been subscribed to this blog for a few days and can barely believe some of the outrageous things I have read in the comments section of various posts. I thought classical music somehow had more evolved people within it’s sphere, I was clearly mistaken.

      • .”I thought classical music somehow had more evolved people within it’s sphere”
        this is a common misconception. I have a passion for classical music but it would be arrogant for me to assume i’m more ‘evolved’ than someone who likes Jazz/Rock or whatever.

      • Yes, the predictable outrage. And with regard to being more evolved, yes, let’s think things through a little more (which is an important part of being ‘evolved’, certainly a lot more than being involved in a near-extinct sodding art-form). A lot is made of the power-dynamic: this is vastly reduced if the two characters are close in age and particularly if the ‘senior’ party is so young, both as near as damnit adults. Just think back to having a very young teacher in anything, or vice-versa being a young teacher to a student nearly as old as yourself (personally I find it very hard to feel ‘powerful’ at all in such circumstances).
        Secondly, I don’t know the particulars of the case (not sure if anybody else does) so I don’t wish to leap to the conclusion that the accused behaved ruthlessly, seedily, selfishly etc etc. Just perhaps the girl played a part? (which she later regretted enough to start criminal proceedings).
        ‘The power dynamic’ is exactly the tired and inflexible dogma to which I refer. The dynamic varies ENORMOUSLY from case to case, as it MUST vary, since individuals vary.

    • @Phil- You sad so much unacceptable things, I am just speechless…. Are you living in 21th century civilisation?

      It’s about that the girl is a teenager, but he was her teacher too…what makes the sitation more inappropriate!!!
      I hope this pianist will lose all the opportunites to work with young students. Just 23 years of age and can’t find a girl on his own??!!!

      And yes, I admire this girl and her parents for showing him up, and not letting the thing just pass by…at least everybody will know about him!!!

      • @Steve, I’m not saying I’m fully in support of the guy. I just don’t ever trust things that are seen in black and white. Torturing and killing a toddler – now that’s black and white, but sadly there was not a fraction of the sympathy expressed for Daniel Pelka as there is for these teenage female ‘victims’. There are simply more important things in the world than a bit of sexual molestation. Ban him from teaching. His behaviour is not appropriate for a teacher. I fully agree with that. Why not LEAVE it at that?

      • Lauren M. Lynley says:

        Patrik: There are people like Phil who think that women (and girls) are here for men’s use It is sad that people like this are still around in the 21st century. I am pleased to hear that you are not one of these sorts. Young people deserve a childhood free of sexualisation. But I suppose this is too much to ask of some people.

        • Men and women are here for *each other’s* use (if you want to put it like that), in a non-guilt-ridden and mutually acceptable fashion. Nothing in what I said claims that women and girls are for ‘men’s use’. A ridiculous statement, emanating from a chaste and sensuality-phobic attitude that would have us all courting for 6 months and signing a legal contract before embarking on a kiss.

  2. Wow, I can’t believe this shit. Went to school with the guy. What a fucker. I have no words. I’m outraged. So glad this is making the news. No sympathy for the guy, ugh.

  3. So a 16 year old girl did something (we don’t know what) with a 23 year old boy. It’s a crazy world that this is a big deal. 16 year olds are not “innocent” or naïve and know exactly what they’re doing, and the 23 year old is only just a bit older than her anyhow.

    • Quite. We don’t know the particulars of the case, but I find it amazing that so many people don’t even wish to stop to consider it, and immediately jump on the band wagon of abuse dogma and condemn the guy out of hand, and ‘victim-paint’ the girl as a matter of course. A 23yo teacher to a 16yo student does not necessarily mean a massive unequal power relationship. It’s not an exact science. The girl might have been MORE powerful in many ways. She may not have been, either, but let’s just try to think realistically and less dogmatically and less puritanical about human beings with regard to sexual matters,

      • Lauren M. Lynley says:

        He threatened to kill her via text, repeatedly. You need your head checked. If you had bothered to actually read the story . . . well, I’m not so sure you would feel differently. Get help.

        • Brava Lynn! His texts were so out of hand and completely sick. It’s one thing to think these things. It’s another to take action.

          And it sounds like the commenters are in their 50s here, generalizing youthful age. As a 23 year old, I can say that 23 and 16 are WORLDS apart. I can’t stress it enough, especially seeing the comments above.

          It’s sad that instead of realizing his abuse, everyone here seems to “see the gray area”, but is in reality just trying to find ways the girl could have lead the guy on, like some kind of Lolita. It almost feels like everyone is jumping the bandwagon in a completely different way – blaming the victim, and there’s nothing sensitive or intelligent about that. Please read the whole article and his texts. It were those that really got to me, not just the headline story. Even though they didn’t publish the girl’s responses, I doubt they were “oh yeah baby, please do tie me up and eat Maine lobster in front of me; please spank me again, I know you want to.” The guy was threatening, not sexy.

          What else really saddenes me is that the poor girl is now stuck in the middle of an international scandal. How is a 16 year old to deal with these blaming comments?? She must be hearing so many opinions, of her peers in pre-college, but even more so from unfortunately ignorant adults.

          • Excuse me, Brava Lauren! *

          • “As a 23 year old, I can say that 23 and 16 are WORLDS apart. I can’t stress it enough, especially seeing the comments above.”

            from my perspective i’d concur with that. As a 16yo i’d have found a 20Yo worlds apart, but there are plenty of instances where less of a gulf would be felt. As Phil says-(the most thoughtful commentator here) :

            “The dynamic varies ENORMOUSLY from case to case, as it MUST vary, since individuals vary.”

          • When I was 16 I went out with a 22 year old guy, I always found older guys more attractive, as did most of my girlfriends, and I can tell you I was the one in control in every aspect of the relationship.

          • Lauren M. Lynley says:

            Thank you Anon. I don’t have an issue with age gaps so long as those in question are above the age of consent. The operative word here is CONSENT. It seems some did not even read the full article before taking a grow man’s side (or woman’s if that were the case) against a minor in the student-teacher dynamic in which her (or his) entire future career may depend. In the age of thugs, drugs, whores, and bores ascending to rule modern popular culture, I am no longer surprised at the “blame the victim” mentality. However, I was hoping the classical arts world would find a level above the fray but, as I said in another thread, I have been clearly wrong in this. It seems that even threats of murder and rape and sexually aggressive physical contact against a child has become a wedge issue. How deplorable.

        • Well, I didn’t know he’d threatened to kill her by text, so steady on, don’t be so insulting. These finer details are no exactly published in lights, which is why some readers (like I) tend to be sceptical or cynical about the cases. If cases were commonly reported without such lame and vague euphemisms as ‘molestation’ or ‘abuse’, perhaps understanding would be more immediate and widespread towards the victims.
          Just try to be civilized in your arguments, Lauren, your attitude is what helps turns these things into a kind of sex war. Maybe you have a prior history, which explain your strong feelings – if so, get help.
          This doesn’t alter the fact that all manner of encounters between a 16yo girl and a 23yo man can exist, covering every shade from outright abuse to the most sincere love (on both sides). It’s very damaging to society to be so dogmatic and shoe-horn the very concept into criminality.

        • I’ve been far too civilized about this, actually. *Of course* I would feel differently about this case knowing such facts (that’s assuming it is indeed true and lifted out of context in some way to support your anti-male bias). Lauren, you are offensive and gratuitous towards a person you have never met: ‘get your head checked’ indeed. Yes, why don’t you. I instantly suspect you would not be a pleasant person or reasonable person to know in real life, and your offensiveness towards any polite argument strongly suggests issues of your own. Get them sorted. Meet a nice man perhaps (or woman, if that’s what rocks your boat). Get out of classical music perhaps? – it has a way of screwing with a person’s social psyche, or perhaps it’s a prerequisite that it attracts a hostile kind of eccentricity. A bit of both I think. I have nothing further to say.

          • Lauren M. Lynley says:

            Read the article, moron. I have no anti-male bias, I have an anti rape and anti-child abuse bias. I have a strong anti-bully boy bias so, no we would definitely not get on if we met. I do indeed hope you have nothing further to say.

          • ‘Bully boy’. I love that. It’s the last epithet that anybody knows me would describe me as. If I may use the language of the playground (which would seem to be a good level for you) – ‘you started it.’

  4. Dear Phil,

    I agree the headline was much too vague, but please take the time to read the entire article next time before publishing comments that are philosophical and unrelated to the case. Yes there are male victims and yes there is a victim/abuser dogma. But it’s also not there without a reason. Of course nothing is black and white, but hence stating that also means that it’s not ok to automatically assume there is fault in the victim.

    Of course all kinds of relationships can exist between 16&23 year olds, and just like any other relationships, they can start well and go wrong. Perhaps the young girl was flattered that an older guy and such a well-known, talented pianist was paying attention to her. Perhaps it took her a few months to realize just how abusive, damaging, and plain dangerous his attention was, she fessed up to her parents. Good for her, because even older girls sometimes aren’t able to realize this. It must have been really embarrassing for her. However, 23 years old is plenty old to know that this behavior is not ok, hence his threats in case she told on him. Again, he’d never do this with someone his age, hence the power inequality.

    On another note, it’s sad how many classical music stars grow up without internalizing basic rules of what’s ok and what’s not – and end up acting up later in life. In that way, I am sorry for the guy but it does not take back the damage he has caused.

    • I take your comments in good faith, anon, as clearly a person who knows how to debate without being intensely personal and nasty. I’m not the only person, from any camp of opinion, who is a little hasty in commenting in these types of news stories without finding out the full facts. Lauren, however, should hang her head in shame if she conducts herself in such fashion towards complete strangers (under the ‘safety’ of relative internet anonymity): the perfect definition of a coward, and behaviour which is far more aggressive and damaging to civilized society than, for example, the acts of the concert pianist under discussion (or supposedly under discussion) here. As to the ‘damage’ that Hyung-Min has caused to his victim, only time will tell. Third parties, however, are so keen to declare her ‘perpetually damaged’ that you would think they *want* her to be damaged.

  5. In our country, Britain, a 16-year old is a school kid and classed as a child until 18, even if they look about 25 at times. It’s up to the older person to be on their guard and not take risks.

    There is a huge difference between being 16 and 23 years old. And in his case, there is status involved which he has chosen for forfeit for all of this.

    Some of these blogs I find indeed quite offensive, insulting and gratuitious between you, and given you probably don’t even know each other, quite abusive. I too have no more to say. The law is the law.

    • ‘Extremely’ abusive, in fact, I agree Una. As I said above, however, I didn’t start it. There’s only one bully here.

  6. @Steve,

    thank you. Indeed each case is different, and we are all too far from these individuals to even have the right to judge the situation. However, it’s still very hard to believe, from the threatening nature of the guy’s texts, that power in this relationship was equal.

  7. Ellen Hershey says:

    Always wise to allow more details to become known before forming a point of view on a case like this. At least go to the trouble of reading the New York Post story linked to this article before commenting. Better yet, wait for facts to be brought forward in court–but that would take exceptional discipline.

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