The Cleveland Orchestra has suspended its principal trombone player, Massimo La Rosa, “as part of an ongoing independent investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct,” according to a statement from the orchestra.
An orchestra spokesman declined to elaborate on the reason behind La Rosa’s suspension, citing the continuing investigation.
The orchestra last month hired an outside law firm to investigate sexual assault allegations involving another one of its musicians, Concertmaster William Preucil.
According to his biography on the Cleveland Orchestra’s website, La Rosa has been with the organization since 2007 “and has presented recitals and masterclasses at major conservatories in the United States, Europe, Japan and South America.”
In addition, La Rosa is on the faculty at the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM). Reached for comment on Saturday afternoon, the President of CIM, Paul W. Hogle, issued a statement that read in part:
The Cleveland Institute of Music is learning of The Cleveland Orchestra’s suspension of Massimo La Rosa at the same time as the public. We are not in a position to speculate about what led to their decision.
CIM has a well-defined policy regarding sexual harassment ... and reporting ... and our Title IX officer and designated reporters thoroughly investigate any claims related to sexual discrimination and harassment.
An attempt to reach La Rosa for comment through his CIM faculty email was unsuccessful.
This isn't the first time that La Rosa has been under scrutiny as a result of a sexual misconduct inquiry. In a 2013 article by Inside Higher Ed, a former trombone student of La Rosa’s alleges that, in 2011, while she was at the University of Iowa, La Rosa groped her during a private lesson that he initiated.
And according to documents filed in federal court in Cleveland in January 2018, La Rosa was the plaintiff in a defamation lawsuit, seeking upwards of $100,000 in damages against trombonists Jonathan Allen and Abbie Conant.
La Rosa accused them of spreading false statements about him, including allegations of sexual assault. The case was dismissed this past May.