Petition for an inquiry into sexual and psychological abuse at Chetham’s School of Music and other specialist institutions

Petition re-opened until May 31st – please click here.

Below is the text of a petition drafted by Paul Lewis, Tim Horton and myself, calling for an inquiry into sexual and psychological abuse in Chetham’s and other specialist music institutions. To sign, please leave a message here or e-mail me at It will be sent to the Guardian after midday Tuesday afternoon with the signatures we have by then, and forwarded to politicians and others. We are already amassing a considerable number of signatures both from ex-Chet’s people, other musicians, and others, but hope to get as many as possible. If you were at Chet’s or another specialist music school, do let us know which years you were there. Also, please let us know in what form you would like your name to be listed.


In recent weeks, the ongoing allegations of historical sexual abuse at Chetham’s School of Music have put many aspects of music education under intense public scrutiny. Following the conviction of the former director of music, Michael Brewer, the tragic death of Frances Andrade, and extensive testimonies in the press of other abuse, it is clear that there should now be a full independent inquiry into the alleged sexual and psychological abuse by Chetham’s staff since the establishment of the institution as a music school in 1969. Such an inquiry would ideally extend to other institutions as well, some of which have also been the subject of allegations of abuse.

Recent press reports have suggested that during this time many students complained to senior members of staff about the sexually abusive behaviour of a number of Chetham’s teachers, but that no satisfactory action was taken. While it is of primary concern that those who stand accused should be investigated as soon as possible, if these allegations are shown to be correct it will be important to understand the wider implications of a school culture which facilitated such abuses of trust, and afforded alleged offenders long-term protection. For this reason, we ask senior members of staff from that time to account for what appears to be the severe failure of the school system to protect its pupils from those who exploited their positions of power. The prevalence of sexual abuse which appears to have continued unhindered over many years suggests an alarming lack of responsibility and competence in the management of a school which had, above all, a duty to protect the welfare of its students and to nurture the artistic potential of every pupil. That Chetham’s appears to have failed in this respect, and with such devastating consequences for the personal and professional lives of the alleged victims, now requires some considerable explanation from those who held senior positions of authority.

398 Comments on “Petition for an inquiry into sexual and psychological abuse at Chetham’s School of Music and other specialist institutions”

  1. Mel says:

    Please add my name to the petition. (I was not at a specialist music school or college.)

  2. I’ll sign. Patrick – Chets, 1975-78.

  3. Laurie Dover says:

    I will sign.

  4. I’ll sign. Chet’s 1978-1986 RNCM 1986-1990.

  5. Put me down… Chris Schmidt, Chets 87-89.

  6. Mollie Koenigsberger says:

    Count me in…Mollie Koenigsberger RCM 1969-1972

  7. Sarah Nixon says:

    Please add my name. RNCM 1997-2003

  8. Chloe Lander says:

    Chloe Lander – At Chethams from 1981-1986 I would like to sign in support of all those that suffered.

  9. Caroline Dearing says:

    This is appalling but not surprising, alas. Having trained as a professional musician elsewhere I was aware from a young age that such behaviour, along with regular partner swapping within orchestras and psychological bullying from conductors were part and parcel of the artistic world. How equally appalling that this should have been the almost expected ‘norm’ that one just had to be aware of and watch out for. Whether I would have been strong enough to reject such sexual abuse I shudder to consider. My heart goes out to Frances Andrade’s family and all others directly affected. Thank God my cousin escaped somehow, despite studying with two of those accused.
    I certainly was at the end of emotional abuse. I guess we all told ourselves it made us stronger in the end dealing with it and it was all an integral part of our intense pursuit of our musical goals ….how wrong we all were, but we were not to blame. The ‘responsible’ adults MUST be held to account. Please add my name to the petition for the sake of all future young people – which could include my daughter. What a thought …

  10. John Parsons says:

    Please add my name – RNCM 1989 – 1994

  11. Jon Visanji says:

    Add me to the list please… Jon Visanji RNCM 1998-2003

  12. Philippa Ibbotson says:

    Please add me to the list

  13. Tom Johnston says:

    Add me please, Tom Johnston, RNCM 1993-1994

  14. Miguel Mera says:

    I will sign.

  15. Björn Heile says:

    Sign me up

  16. Annie Ray (neé Jones) says:

    RNCM (97-01)

  17. Simon Lane says:

    I wan to sign, rncm 2000-2008

  18. Fran Wright says:

    Add my name please, I lived with quite a few students who studied with one of the named men, and worked with him myself for much of my college years being vaguely aware of all sorts going on,but being too young and naive to realise the implications of it all at the time. I feel very sad that those in positions of authority and those in the know did nothing to protect their students being abused and taken advantage of – young vulnerable children and young adults away from home for the first time. There was a culture of unprofessional behaviour. I was at RNCM 1990-1994

  19. Katharine Tindall says:

    Happy to have my name signed. I did not attend one of the implicated institutions but fully support any action against organisations that protect and ignore this terrible crime.

  20. olivia naomi timms says:

    I would like to sign – Chet’s, 1986-1991

  21. ann monnington says:

    I would like to sign. GSMD 1986-7

  22. Simon Ertz says:

    Chet’s 1987-89
    RNCM 1989-93

  23. Lizzy May says:

    An inquiry into ALL the specialist music schools needs to happen. They are plagued with abuse of many kinds.
    I completely support this. The Yehudi Menuhin School 1992 – 1999 (and RNCM)

  24. Fran dickson says:

    Please add my name. Rncm 1999-2004

  25. Rebecca Woolcock says:

    I would like to sign RNCM 1990-94

  26. Lindsay Wagstaff says:

    Lindsay Wagstaff: Chets 1975-81. Also had a son at Purcell School 2002-07.

  27. Felicity Bryson says:

    Felicity Bryson. I would like to sign. Chetham’s School of Music 1981-1988

  28. Peter Collyer says:

    Peter Collyer. RCM 1980-84, currently part-time teacher, GSMD and TL. Stepson at Purcell 2002-2007

  29. Anna Crookes says:

    I will sign – Chets 1974 – 83

  30. I would like to sign too.

  31. Karin Wanambwa says:

    I will sign. Chet’s 1989-94

  32. ianpace says:

    Thanks to all of you for the latest signatures.

  33. Joanna Archard says:

    I’d like to sign, Jo Archard ,(Menuhin School 1983-1984).

  34. Charlotte Bassett-Chan says:

    I would like to sign. Junior guildhall 1990 – 1993, RAM 1997 – 1999

  35. Miranda Farrell says:

    I will sign. Chets 1986-1993

  36. Rachel Fulgoni says:

    I will sign this petition. I was at Chet’s 1991-1994 and the RNCM 1994-1998.

  37. Nadine Bacon says:

    I’ll sign Nadine Wiltshier ( now Bacon) at chets 1980 to 1990

  38. Rebecca Watson says:

    I would like to sign Chet’s ’86-’92.

  39. Fiona Pritchard says:

    Please add my name Fiona Pritchard GSMD 1984-87

  40. Patricia Garner says:

    Patricia Garner cousin to Chets student 1975-1981

  41. Steve Costello says:

    Please add my name to the petition, Chet’s ’75-’82, RNCM ’82-’86.

  42. Deborah Clifford says:

    I’ll sign the petition, I was at Chets from 1974-82.

  43. Negar Esfandiary says:

    In ackowledgement, and to ensure accountability

  44. Ed Jefferies says:

    I was not at Chet’s but I am aware of a number of people at institutes that have been affected adversely by the sort of behaviour that has been highlighted by this enquiry. It would appear that this sort of abuse has been part and parcel of the music world for years and it is about time these people were dealt with. Grooming children until the age of 16 and then claiming that is acceptable to sleep with them because they are over the age of consent should not be ignored, these people must be prosecuted. Everyone in the music world has heard stories about students at music colleges across the country having relationships with their teacher, these people are in a position of power and should not abuse their status.

  45. Roz Davies says:

    I will sign. I was at Chet’s 1990-92 & I would like to see all the people who have suffered get the support they deserve.

  46. Jenny Terras says:

    Chets 1974-1977 (junior dept).

  47. Abigail Smith (nee Leigh) says:

    Add my name please. Chets 87-95, RCM 95-99.

  48. Janet says:

    I would like to sign.

  49. Sarah Button says:

    I will sign. I was at Chet’s 1987 – 1990.

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