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More developments regarding alleged abuse at music schools

10 May 2013

The double bassist Duncan McTier has today (9 May) been arrested by police investigating sexual abuse at Manchester music schools, on suspicion of indecent assault. He is the second man to be arrested as part of Operation Kiso, an investigation by Greater Manchester Police into allegations of abuse at both Chetham's School of Music and the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM). Violinist Wen Zhou Li, who teaches at bth institutions, has been suspended pending the result of police investigations into an allegation of rape. Duncan McTier now teaches at the Royal Academy of Music, London, but was formerly on the staff of the RNCM.

Operation Kiso was triggered by the trial and conviction of Michael Brewer for indecent assault on Frances Andrade, who killed herself before knowing the outcome of the trial, when she was a violin student at Chetham's and Brewer was its music director. This week the Guardian revealed that the police are investigating 39 teachers from Chetham's and the RNCM, following allegations from more than 30 former pupils. Five of those accused are now dead, but police say that otherwise they would have been facing trial. Ten individuals are 'proactively being investigated', according to newspaper reports this week, and there are 'many others who are also part of the inquiry' Some are from third-party reports, and police stress that the victims themselves need to get in touch if any action is to be taken against offenders.   
Chetham's has submitted an action plan to the department of education following last months' criticisms by a joint inspectorate of its policies and practice.
Meanwhile, the Yehudi Menuhin School is cooperating with Surrey Police over allegations in a Channel 4 news report broadcast this week that its founding music director, the late Marcel Gazelle, abused at least three girls in the school in the 1970s. The violinist Nigel Kennedy said that when he was a pupil at the school  some of his female colleagues told him they were being abused by Gazelle, and an anonymous victim described how she was 'scared of him and wanted to please him and stop him being cross'. The report claimed that all five of the UK's specialist music schools are implicated in accusations of abuse, with some teachers moving on to other institutions when questions were raised about their treatment of their pupils.
More on this story can be found on the website of our sister magazine Classical Music

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