A heavy heart

President's report

Volume 124, No. 5May, 2024

Sara Cutler

I am writing this to you all with a heavy heart and amid a lot of pain, anger, and frustration regarding the ongoing and potential new sexual misconduct allegations at the New York Philharmonic. It has provoked widespread outrage on social media and among our members, particularly the musicians of the orchestra.

To start, let me be clear: as a woman and a musician with 50 years of experience, I share your horror.

That’s why I was glad to hear that the Philharmonic has launched an investigation into potential new allegations of sexual misconduct, harassment, abuse, and assault involving any musician in the New York Philharmonic. We have also learned they initiated a “cultural audit” of the entire organization. I applaud this employer for going forward with these projects now.  We will wait for the results of the Philharmonic’s investigation before further commenting on the situation.

I understand the allegations underlying this situation are triggering, horrifying, and even paralyzing to many of us. Many of us have suffered similar abuse or are close to someone who has. As a union and community, we should protect the most vulnerable — those who have been the targets of sexual abuse and violence. They deserve our unwavering support.

There is a lot of pain right now; we need to listen to those who are in pain and ensure that we provide them with all the support, resources, and comfort they need. And, as the president of Local 802, I am firmly committed to holding our employers to their obligation to provide all of us with a safe workplace, free from harassment, discrimination, and sexual misconduct. Local 802 is strongest when we stand together to keep our workplaces safe.


I must tell you, sadly, that Jessica Phillips has stepped off the Executive Board. Her lively intelligence and passion translated into huge contributions to the work of 802. We offer our thanks for her service and wish her well in all her future endeavors .