Multiple news outlets have reported Bozeman Symphony Music Director, Matthew Savery, has resigned amid allegations of “bullying, harassment, mistreatment, discrimination and inappropriate behavior.”
According to an article by Rachel Leathe in the 2/1/2019 edition of the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, allegations were presented to the orchestra’s board in a letter dated 1/23/2019. The letter contained 14 signatories that included former and current musicians, staff members, and donors. A copy of the letter was also sent to the newspaper, which published the following excerpt:
“Of paramount concern is the bullying, harassment, mistreatment, discrimination and inappropriate behavior we have experienced, seen and heard from the current Music Director, Matthew Savery, toward our local and guest musicians, BSO administrative staff, and donors.”
One of the letter’s signatories included a former board member who served as the board chair from 2013-2016.
Denis Prager, who was a board member from 2010 to 2016 and board chair from 2013 to 2016, also contributed to the complaint. As the chair, Prager said he raised money to celebrate Savery’s 20th anniversary with the symphony but noticed a pattern of female donors unwilling to contribute. His letter included in the complaint alleges women on the board were often harassed and embarrassed when proposing ideas Savery considered “dumb.” On Friday, Prager did not point to any one instance but said the patterns of behavior are unacceptable for a community organization.
At the time, Savery denied any wrongdoing and that an investigation would clear him of any allegations.
The board ultimately decided to launch an independent investigation into the allegations and before that work was complete, Savery decided to resign, effective February 14, 2019. According to a follow-up article by Leathe in the 2/15/2019 edition of the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, the investigation will continue.
The third-party inquiry will continue, according to the Board of Directors. The investigation by Amy Christensen of Helena law firm Christensen & Prezeau is expected to take until mid-March. Upon completion, the board “will review the report to identify opportunities to better serve musicians, staff, patrons, volunteers, and our community,” according to the board’s letter.
Elliot Moore, Longmont Symphony Orchestra music director, will fill in for the remainder of the orchestra’s season. The orchestra’s executive director left at the beginning of the season and the position has yet to be filled.