James Levine, 'America's Greatest Conductor,' is Under Investigation Following Sexual Abuse Allegations

New York’s Metropolitan Opera announced Saturday that it was launching an investigation into allegations of assault against its artistic director emeritus, world-famous conductor James Levine.

Levine, 74, is accused of molesting a teenage boy over several years, reported The New York Times, citing a copy of a 2016 police report.

The first physical approach is alleged to have taken place in 1985, with the abuse continuing until 1993, reported the Times.

Levine denies the allegations.

"This first came to the Met’s attention when the Illinois police investigation was opened in October 2016,” said Met general manager Peter Gelb in a statement. 

"At the time, Mr Levine said that the charges were completely false, and we relied upon the further investigation of the police. We need to determine if these charges are true and, if they are, take appropriate action. We’ll now be conducting our own investigation with outside resources."

r James Levine pauses as he looks over the stage and conductor's podium in Boston's Symphony Hall after being announced as the next conductor and music director of The Boston Symphony Orchestra October 29, 2001 at a news conference in Boston. Reuters

In recent months the worlds of cinema, politics, and news broadcasting have been rocked by accusations of sexual assault against prominent figures, but the accusations against Levine are the first to be made against a high profile figure in the world of classical music.

Six out of 10 people who work in the classical music sector have been victims of discrimination and sexual harassment, according to a study by the U.K.'s Incorporated Society of Musicians released Saturday.

Regarded by many as America’s greatest conductor, Levine has served for 40 years as music director at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

During a long and distinguished career, Levine was nominated for 37 Grammy awards. He has conducted 85 operas, and led more than 2,500 performances at the Met. 

After beging diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, he became the Met’s emeritus musical director in April 2017. He has continued to conduct in recent years from a motorised wheelchair.

Levine is currently scheduled to conduct Giuseppe Verdi's Tosca on New Year’s Eve.

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