On Wednesday, February 12th, the following press release was made available by City of London police (copied here from the blog post on the subject on Slipped Disc):
Man charged over historic sex offences
City of London Police has today, Wednesday 12th February, charged a 63-year-old man with 15 historic offences, relating to nine separate victims.
These charges include eight counts of indecent assault, three counts of rape, two counts of false imprisonment, one count of assault and one count of attempted rape.
Philip John Pickett, from Lyneham, Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, a former freelance teacher at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama is accused of,
Rape (contrary to section 1(1) of the Sexual Offences Act 1956), which occurred between 1st October 1977 and 30th November 1977.
Rape (contrary to section 1(1) of the Sexual Offences Act 1956), which occurred between 1st October 1977 and 30th April 1978.
Rape (contrary to section 1(1) of the Sexual Offences Act 1956), which occurred between 1st September 1978 and 30th September 1978.
Attempted rape (contrary to section 1(1) of the Criminal Attempts Act 1981), which occurred between 1st January 1988 and 30th January 1988.
Indecent assault (contrary to section 14 of the Sexual Offences Act 1956), which occurred between 1st January 1974 and 31st December 1974.
Indecent assault (contrary to section 14 of the Sexual Offences Act 1956), which occurred between 1st January 1974 and 31st December 1975.
Indecent assault (contrary to section 14 of the Sexual Offences Act 1956), which occurred between 1st September 1978 and 30th September 1978.
Indecent assault (contrary to section 14 of the Sexual Offences Act 1956), which occurred between 1st January 1977 and 31st December 1979.
Indecent assault (contrary to section 14 of the Sexual Offences Act 1956), which occurred between 1st January 1980 and 31st December 1981.
Indecent assault (contrary to section 14 of the Sexual Offences Act 1956), which occurred between 1st January 1983 and 31st December 1984.
Indecent assault (contrary to section 14 of the Sexual Offences Act 1956), which occurred between 1st January 1988 and 31st December 1988.
Indecent assault (contrary to section 14 of the Sexual Offences Act 1956), which occurred between 1st January 1988 and 31st December 1988.
Assault occasioning actual bodily harm, which occurred between 1st January 1971 and 31st December 1974.
False imprisonment which occurred between 1st October 1977 and 30th November 1977
False imprisonment which occurred between 1st January 1988 and 31st December 1988.
Mr Pickett, who was a freelance teacher at the school between 1972 and 1997, has been bailed to attend City Magistrates Court on 28th February.
Anyone with information that may assist with this investigation is encouraged to contact City of London Police on 020 7601 8177/8175 or via the 101 non emergency number, you can also email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
As charges have been brought, I would request that no-one comment here upon this case until after a trial is over.
[UPDATE: A report in the Oxford Mail on Tuesday March 18th, 2014 indicates that Pickett’s trial has been postponed from October 2014 to January 2015 so that the musician can finish touring. Defence barrister Jonathan Barnard said at the Old Bailey ‘My client is a world famous musician and therefore earns his living on a job to job basis and has tours across the globe throughout the autumn – but the season slows down in the new year’. The Crown agreed on the grounds that ‘the allegations are at the latest 20 years old and the earliest, 40 years old’.
Once again, I request no comments upon the case until after the end of the trial.]
On another subject, for the first time since the Michael Brewer, Clare Moreland, head teacher at Chetham’s, agreed to be interviewed by Richard Morrison for The Times yesterday. Morrison himself wrote the following in April of last year:
As a teenager in the late 1960s and early ’70s I had four music teachers who shaped my life. Three were perverts – a not especially large percentage of paedophiles for a musical boy to encounter in that era. The first, the organist at the church where I was a choirboy, placed a clammy hand on his organ pupils’ thighs if they made pedalling mistakes – which was often in my case, since the clammy hand itself induced nervousness (as it was perhaps intended to do). The second, my piano teacher, a professor at a London conservatoire, regularly touched the breasts of both my sisters, who also studied with him. The third, my university tutor, liked to stand right behind male undergraduates as we struggled through keyboard harmony – then run his fingers through our hair.
Since all three are long dead I see no point in ‘outing’ them now. And at the time, msuical children – especially choirboys, or those in hothouse music schools – simply accepted this low-grade but continual molestation from teachers as par for the course. I must also say that each of my teachers was an outstanding musician. They taught me a lot, and their groping did no lasting harm. In that respect I was lucky.’ (Richard Morrison, ‘Music teaching’s dark past is in danger of destroying its future., BBC Music Magazine, April 2013, p. 25).
The interview in The Times (behind a paywall), contains the following passage:
In the eye of the storm has been Claire Moreland, the head teacher since 1999. On legal advice she has said nothing to the press since the crisis began. She broke her silence to talk to The Times. Looking pale, and with her voice often tremulous, she nevertheless defended vigorously the school’s actions over the past year.
When did she first know something was wrong? “I learnt about the possible police investigation of Mike Brewer in late 2011 and I was asked to keep that in confidence,” she replied. “The police came back to see me in 2012 and said they would be carrying out an investigation. As you know the Crown Court case started just over a year ago.” And when did it occur to her that this would be a much larger problem than just one isolated case? “It became increasingly apparent – given the context of the other cases of historic abuse recently come to public attention, the timing and outcome of the Brewer case, and the tragic suicide. We knew that this was bigger when we heard from the police that they were launching a much wider investigation.” (Richard Morrison, ‘Does Chetham’s have a future?’, The Times, 12/2/14).
But this does not appear to concur with a report published two weeks ago in The Independent:
In letters obtained by The Independent, a former Chetham’s pupil wrote to Mrs Moreland and said her “cries for help were met with disbelief”.
Mrs Moreland, who was not head teacher at the time the assaults were said to have occurred, replied in 2002. She said: “Legislation over the last two decades and an increasing awareness of issues surrounding teachers and students means that all schools these days are well-equipped to deal with any allegations.”
In 2002, Professor Gregson replied to another complainant, saying: “I do believe there is a more balanced view which, whilst not condoning [the teacher’s] past, does treat it in a more forgiving manner.”
In a reply to another woman, Mrs Moreland said in 2002: “We have excellent pastoral care systems at Chetham’s and naturally do our utmost to ensure that all the children in our care are extremely wel looked after at all times.”
Operation Kiso is currently looking at sex abuse allegations dating to as recently as 2006, however.
The investigation began after Michael Brewer, the former director of music at Chetham’s, was jailed for six years last March for indecently assaulting a pupil. His victim, Frances Andrade, killed herself after giving evidence against him at his trial, having been accused of lying during cross-examination.
Mrs Andrade had written to Professor Gregson in 2002 regarding sexual abuse claims. Professor Gregson accused her of writing an “emotive letter” that was “potentially libellous”. Mrs Moreland has insisted the sexual abuse allegations are “historic” and that child protection policies at Chetham’s have changed. (Paul Gallagher, ‘Elite music school Chetham’s loses pupils in backlash at allegations of historic sexual abuse’, The Independent, 28/1/14).
Nowhere in the Moreland interview is there any sign of concern for what former pupils might have suffered; the only concern seems to be to rejuvenate the reputation of the school. This attitude should be seen for what it is.
It is nearly ten months since the conviction of Michael and Kay Brewer on charges of sexual assault whilst Michael Brewer was Director of Music at Chetham’s School of Music, during a tragic trial in the course of which the victim, Frances Andrade, took her own life. Since this conviction, there have been a flood of allegations relating to widespread sexual, physical and emotional abuse at all of the five specialist music schools in the UK (as for example with the cases of Marcel Gazelle and Robert Waddington), and all the major music colleges as well, as well as further allegations pointing to a widespread culture of collusion, complicity and cover-up of these practices within these institutions. Police investigations have proceeded, and to date there have been a number of arrests of individuals connected to Chetham’s, the Royal Northern College of Music, the Royal Academy of Music, and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, some of which may result in criminal charges. However, police have made it clear that it is not possible for them to investigate cases where the perpetrator is now dead, where the victim was over 16 and the events in question took place before the 2003 Sexual Offences Act, or in other cases (especially concerning serious psychological and emotional abuse) where there is no direct criminality involved. Furthermore, it is beyond the scope of a police investigation to look deeper into questions of institutional responsibility for this phenomenon, or the wider culture and values of musical education which may have played a part in allowing these alleged events to happen. Beyond this, in the close-knit world of classical music, where it is practically impossible for victims to remain anonymous even if not named in the press, there has grown since February an atmosphere of fear, intimidation and ostracisation from some quarters (including other musicians and some alumni communities), by individuals disdaining anything which might blacken the names of various ‘great musicians’ or taint the name of institutions, such as can act as a deterrent towards those who might have thought of coming forward. Such a deterrent also has to be set alongside knowledge of the terrible plight of Andrade, which remains in many people’s minds. Some of the institutions are clearly treating this primarily as an issue of their own reputations, with Chetham’s having been revealed to be employing a crisis management firm; some correspondence from former pupils, parents or other interested parties has been brushed off in a breezy manner. Furthermore, resistance to genuinely addressing the problem is growing as part of a wider backlash, as can be found in some comments posted under the regular updates on the subject on the blog of Norman Lebrecht (Slipped Disc), and also in recent debates conducted in the Times Educational Supplement (see my separate post here and also some comments on the ensuing debate here)
Only a full public inquiry into sexual and other abuse in musical education is likely to get to the bottom of this alleged widespread corrosive abuse and ensure both that those who have suffered are heard in safety, and proper recommendations are made to ensure this could never happen again. In February such a petition was set up and garnered over 1000 signatories over just a week, including a huge number of former students at UK specialist music schools and colleges. This was re-opened in May and further signatures added. It has been sent to head teachers, directors of music and college principals, and also to government ministers responsible for education and their shadow counterparts. Whilst to date no indication of an inquiry has yet been received, together with another person I have been having meetings at Parliament, and know that there is a planned meeting of sympathetic MPs from all parties in mid-December, with a view towards lobbying further. Various people have already written to their MPs urging them to support this, and a small caucus of such MPs is being formed. I would strongly urge all people sympathetic to this cause (whether or not they are musicians or have personal experiences) to write to their own MP as soon as possible. A copy of the petition as a PDF is given at the top of this message, and below I reproduce in edited form some text from an earlier blog post indicating how to set about this task. All support is needed now as soon as possible. Please do let others know about this as well.
If you receive a sympathetic reply from your MP, I would be most grateful if you could let me know, then I can forward their name to other interested MPs.
I would like to urge everyone who has signed the petition (and anyone else) to write to their local MP, and preferably as soon as possible. The more MPs are made aware of it by constituents, the stronger the political pressure for an inquiry will be in Parliament. If you are not aware of who is your local MP, go to http://findyourmp.parliament.uk/ and enter your postcode – you should be provided with full contact details for him/her. A basic template for the type of letter you might use which is printed below – naturally feel free to modify it or replace it with something else of your own. I would recommend including a short bit about yourself, in particular stressing any connection you might have to Chetham’s or any other musical institution. I have included a clause for those who might be prepared to meet with their local MP – several people have already made appointments for this. If anyone plans to do this and wants some further briefing, please do contact me. It is also naturally paramount to attach a copy of the petition, which is attached at the top of this post.
Thank you to everyone who has supported this campaign, and above all to those victims who have been brave enough to come forward. The following links feature some important broadcast features from earlier in the year:
The following article from today, by the pioneering Guardian journalist Helen Pidd, is especially important – http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/mar/26/chethams-music-school-sexual-abuse-inquiry
The full remarks of the judge prior to sentencing can be found here – warning, these are extremely graphic and could act as a trigger to some – http://www.judiciary.gov.uk/Resources/JCO/Documents/Judgments/r-brewer-sentencing-remarks.pdf
I am particularly relieved that he chose to draw attention to the ways in which so many prominent people were prepared to back Brewer, in full knowledge of his crimes, because of some misguided ideas that his artistry mitigated against this.
Dear (Member of Parliament),
I am writing as a concerned constituent to ask you to support a petition calling for an independent inquiry into sexual and other abuse in specialist music education.
This petition has been signed by over 1000 people, the majority of them musicians, and includes over 300 former pupils from Chetham’s School of Music, one of the country’s leading specialist music schools.
The petition is attached as a PDF, and it can also be viewed online, with signatories and comments, at https://ianpace.wordpress.com/2013/05/09/re-opened-until-may-31st-2013-petition-for-an-inquiry-into-sexual-and-other-abuse-at-specialist-music-schools/ .
The call for this petition has come in the wake of the recent conviction of Michael Brewer and his wife, Hilary Kay Brewer, on charges of sexual assault against Frances Andrade whilst she was a student at the school. Michael Brewer was Director of Music at Chetham’s when the offences took place. Frances tragically took her life during the course of the trial, and a wide range of further allegations have, as a result of the court case, surfaced since the verdict.
One of the initiators of the petition, Ian Pace (email@example.com ), who has hosted it on his blog, has been contacted by a great many people with many other allegations to suggest that abuse was a widespread phenomenon, at least in former times, and that such abuse spread well beyond Chetham’s to other specialist music institutions throughout the country – many former victims are now finally feeling empowered, sometimes decades after the events in question, to go forward to the police.
On this basis, the signatories are calling for an inquiry into the many aspects of musical education and the workings of these institutions. It is hoped that an inquiry would set out to comprehend why and how such abusive behaviour could apparently so easily occur, and would seek to make certain that current and future procedures are robust enough to ensure that this may be prevented in the future, whilst safeguarding the best aspects of such education and protecting teachers as well.
The safeguarding of all children in education must be a priority to all, but the specialist nature of music education demands a vigorous approach to their safeguarding. The bonds between a music student and their teacher are, by their very nature, intense; the level of study is demanding and the commitment to the subject by both parties means that the relationship between student and teacher is a unique one.
I very much hope that you will see fit to give your own support to such an inquiry, which would, I believe, serve to strengthen the musical education in our country, for both current and future generations.
If you would like further information, [I would be more than happy to meet with you, or] you can contact the petition organiser, Ian Pace, at firstname.lastname@example.org
New article in Times Educational Supplement on abuse in musical education – and public debate on October 19th, Barbican CentrePosted: October 3, 2013
In May of this year (2013), the Times Educational Supplement printed an article by me on how the danger of abuse is especially acute within musical education – (Ian Pace, ‘The culture of music education lends itself to abuse’, TES, May 8, 2013, which can be read online here. In September, a response was printed by Claire Fox, director of the Institute of Ideas (Claire Fox, ‘The line between good teaching and abuse’, TES, September 6, 2013, which can be read here). I believed this article to minimise and make light of the issue, and in particular Fox to be unwilling to consider what might be particular to music education that appears to have facilitated a very large amount of alleged abuse. My response has now been printed on their website – Ian Pace, ‘No music or art form is more important than the right of children to life safe from abuse’, TES, October 3, 2013, and can be read here.
As part of the Battle of Ideas event at the Barbican Centre, hosted by the Institute of Ideas, there will be a debate on Saturday October 19th, 1:30 pm – 3 pm, entitled ‘One to one tuition in the dock? The crisis in music schools’. Further details can be found here. Amongst the panellists are Frank Furedi (whose website is here), whose controversial writings have been very critical of responses to the Jimmy Savile affair and the subsequent Operation Yewtree. I feel that the panel chosen to discuss this issue looks rather one-sided, and so would strongly urge all those who care about the many types of abuse which can occur in music education and the wider music world to attend and ensure all types of opinions and experiences are heard.
Addendum: One point not addressed in my reply is where Fox says that ‘one result of the sexual abuse allegations has been calls to further regulate hands-on one-to-one tuition’. But the extent to which this mode of teaching is under threat is easily overstated – and the claims to that effect derive from a rather over-hasty headline by a sub-editor of a Guardian interview with the Principal of the Royal Northern College of Music, Linda Merrick (Helen Pidd, ‘One-to-one music tuition ‘may be abolished”, The Guardian, March 1, 2013, which can be read here). Merrick never says anything so forceful as that in the interview – the relevant quote is:
“As a sector, we will be looking at whether the one-to-one teaching model, which has been the model in the music world for years and years, can continue,” she said, stressing that such personal tuition has long been “a very important part of being a musician”.
I think all such models will benefit from continuous re-examination (my own views on the subject can be found in an interview with Classical Music magazine here). In general, as the cellist Michal Kaznowski, has suggested, a culture with more (figuratively) ‘open doors’, with students encouraged to co-operate, listen to each other’s lessons, and so on, might go a long way, beyond the guarded secrecy of the private one-to-one lesson. But I have seen no evidence of any likelihood that one-to-one teaching would be abolished in the foreseeable future – that is just scaremongering.
Since the TES article went online, I was copied into a important letter to Claire Fox, which I am reproducing here (anonymously) with permission:
I am pleased that you are debating the issue of abuse in music schools following the recent death of Frances Andrade and the subsequent outpouring of allegations of similar abuse. However, as someone who was also abused I am very concerned that the real issue is being clouded over by a total misunderstanding of what really goes on and I urge you to rethink the debate. Your debate could help prevent further abuse rather than further divide people on something that is irrelevant.
The issue is not one on one tuition: it is not a grope or inappropriate touch by a teacher in a music lesson that is the issue. It is the systematic, psychological grooming that goes on subtly until the “victim” is sufficiently weakened in order to “allow” sexual abuse to happen. This grooming can happen anywhere, and very easily, over a period of time: a simple flattering comment in the corridor after a lesson, a subtle complement then the withdrawal of praise. It is easy to do this in the highly competitive environment of specialist education where everyone is striving to be the best.
Until this is properly understood, there is no way that we as a society can prevent further abuse from taking place. None of the teachers at my boarding school – who were in loco parentis – did anything despite very obvious external signs that something was very wrong. Either they didn’t care or didn’t realise anything was wrong: both unacceptable. Many of those teachers are still there over 20 years later and the man who abused me continued to abuse girls there until one girl went to the police in 2002. However, he denied everything and is still teaching in other institutions as the girl and others who came forward could not face going to trial.
What needs to be done is simple:
Educate parents and teachers about grooming and spotting the signs of a child who is being abused
Educate children about grooming and what is appropriate behaviour (including touching) of teachers.
Please have the right debate.
I intend to write at length for this blog on Chetham’s, where I was a pupil from 1978 to 1986, and much to do with the fall-out from the conviction of Michael and Kay Brewer for sexual assault, the shocking revelations about Malcolm Layfield, Chris Ling and others brought to light through the pioneering journalistic work of Helen Pidd and Philippa Ibbotson, as soon as time permits. Many reading this will have already seen the absolutely harrowing articles about Chris Ling published in the Guardian, here, here and here – a story that has been at least part-known by many musicians for a long time, but which was successfully hushed up by Chetham’s at the time. Only now, more than 20 years later, are the women affected being acknowledged in terms of what they went through.
But Chris Ling is still able to carry on running an agency in Los Angeles with impunity. I wanted to post here a section from an article in the Omaha World Herald, published on August 22nd, 1999, thus seven years after Ling fled the UK as the sexual abuse allegations were first being investigated, which is even more sickening in light of what has now been made public. In the context of continuing attempts to ‘sex up’ classical music, the reality of what Ling was actually doing with his students should be considered whenever one encounters similar talk.
‘Hot, Sexy and Hip Classical Musicians Drop Necklines, Turn Heads, Win Applause’, by Kyle Macmillan
‘Just look (and who can resist?) at those sultry, sometimes scantily clad vixens who frequently grace television and print advertisements for beer, automobiles, apparel and classical music.
Wait a minute. Classical music?
Well, yes, as a matter of fact. A field that used to be associated with the staid and stodgy has gone hot and hip, as promoters and presenters put an increasing emphasis on youth and sex appeal.
Call it babes in music land. Call it sex and violins. Few trends have had a more visible or far-reaching impact on classical music in the 1990s, as Midlanders will soon discover when the 1999-2000 season gets under way.’
‘All are beautiful, and all capitalize on those looks in their publicity efforts. A little more than a year ago when Warner hired a new agent, CHL Artists Inc. of Beverly Hills, Calif., the firm immediately had sensual photographs shot of her.
“Wendy is a very pretty girl,” said Christopher Ling, CHL’s president, “and she’s a marvelous cellist. I don’t think it demeans her talent to have a picture of her that says she is a pretty girl. We’ve simply put photos out there which are new, which are good. And I hope it will attract a younger audience.”
Attracting new, young audiences has become an obsession in the classical-music world, which is facing alarming drops in ticket and compact-disc sales as the patrons on which it has long counted are growing old and dying.
To snare new buyers, many promoters, publicists and presenters are striving to combat what Ling calls the field’s “very staid, very boring image.” Traditionally, he said, it has not really tried to sell itself, settling for bland, rudimentary marketing and publicity efforts.
“If you looked,” Ling said, “at the CD covers of pop, it was very clever. It was always presented in a new way. And I believe the same thing should be said of classical music. And I’m very glad to say that over the last seven or eight years, that’s exactly what has happened.”‘