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Conductor Benjamin Zander Fired For Employing Sex Offender

Conductor Benjamin Zander leads the Boston Philharmonic in 2004 at New York's Carnegie Hall. (AP)

Conductor Benjamin Zander leads the Boston Philharmonic in 2004 at New York's Carnegie Hall. (AP)

World-renowned conductor Benjamin Zander and the New England Conservatory abruptly ended an almost half-century long working relationship Thursday, when school officials discovered Zander had knowingly hired a registered sex-offender to videotape NEC’s Youth Philharmonic Orchestra over the past decade.

Zander does not deny knowing Peter Benjamin’s history. In fact, Zander provided a testimonial at Benjamin’s sentencing hearing 20 years ago. In 1994, Benjamin pleaded guilty to raping a boy.

For his part, Zander calls his dismissal an “absolute tragedy,” adding that Benjamin’s “done nothing for 20 years”. But it also raises questions about just how much scrutiny private institutions are — or should be —giving to the past histories of contract employees.

Guests:

  • Michael Rezendes, reporter, Boston Globe
  • Karen Schwartzman, spokesperson, New England Conservatory
  • Sara Goldsmith Schwartz, education and employment attorney, Schwartz Hannum PC
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