Disgraced Former Cleveland Concertmaster to be Scrubbed from Suzuki Violin Teaching Recordings

Disgraced Former Cleveland Concertmaster to be Scrubbed from Suzuki Violin Teaching Recordings
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William Preucil, the disgraced former concertmaster of the Cleveland Orchestra, was removed from his position after an investigation into years of sexual assault allegations came to a close. Preucil also resigned from his position as an instructor at the Cleveland Institute of Music.

Today, the Washington Post reports that Preucil, who serves as the violinist on Suzuki instructional recordings is going to be replaced. The Suzuki method is a pedagogical technique that teaches children how to play an instrument by having them listen to recordings and emulate the perfect playing they hear. Thousands of children have learned to play violin by imitating Preucil's technique, until now.

Alfred Music, the publishing firm that holds the copyright of the recordings along with Suzuki International announced on Tuesday that they would be rerecording all of his tracks.

“We take the allegations of sexual misconduct that have been made against violinist William Preucil, Jr. extremely seriously, and we are dismayed at the findings of the investigation conducted on behalf of the Cleveland Orchestra,” the firm said in a statement. “To that end, we will work closely with the International Suzuki Association and will replace our current Suzuki Violin School recordings with new recordings as soon as possible.”

Musicians have struggled with whether or not to use Preucil's recordings for years, as his misconduct was somewhat of an open secret in the music community. The Washington Post spoke with Marissa Murphy, a Cleveland Institute of Music alumnus and the founder of Washington Suzuki Strings in Chevy Chase. She was quoted as saying, “I have tried to go every avenue I could to avoid the Bill Preucil recordings.”

She told the Washington Post that in the welcome packet she sends to new families signing up with Washington Suzuki Strings that she tells parents to go to iTunes and download the recordings of the earlier version of the books, featuring David Cerone, even though they don't always reflect the revised fingerings and bowings featured in the Preucil version.

As many children listening to these recordings are taught to not only emulate the style of playing of the musician, but also look toward them as a role model, Suzuki determined that Preucil was no longer someone children should aspire to become, regardless of musical ability.

It will take some time and money to replace the recordings, as Preucil spent many years recording the originals. According to the Washington Post, the community is already debating who his replacement should be, with many hoping that the performer is a woman, a person of color or both.
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