Revisiting the UK Music School Sex Scandal: Predator Caught, Jailed, Stripped of Queen’s Title

As stated in the London Gazette: “THE QUEEN has directed that the appointment of Michael Curtis BREWER to be an Officer of the Civil Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, dated 31 December 1994, shall be cancelled and annulled and that his name shall be erased from the Register of the said Order.

Mr. Brewer, the disgraced former music director of one of the UK’s most prestigious music schools, has been stripped of his OBE (Order of the British Empire; a very prestigious award)) following his conviction for sexually abusing a pupil. Brewer, 68, was jailed for six years in March for indecently assaulting Violinist Frances Andrade more than three decades ago, when he taught at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester.

Andrade killed herself after giving evidence at the trial of her former music teacher, who was found guilty of five counts of indecent assault. Brewer was cleared on three further indecent assault charges and was found not guilty of raping Andrade when she was 18. His ex-wife, Hilary Kay Brewer, also 68, was found guilty of indecently assaulting Andrade when she was 18, but found not guilty of aiding and abetting rape.

Andrade, 48, texted a friend three days before her death to say she felt like she had been “raped all over again” after appearing in court last month to face Brewer. Andrade killed herself the day after Brewer started to give evidence. He called her a “fantasist” who was “largely living a fantasy life”.

Brewer denied all of Andrade’s allegations but admitted to an affair with a 17-year-old pupil at Chetham’s in 1994. He resigned when the affair was discovered and the school said he had stepped down for “health reasons”. Brewer went on to become the artistic director of the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain and has also directed the World Youth Choir. He served as an adjudicator in international competitions and in 2008 led BBC workshops for the program Last Choir Standing.

Anne Sophie-Mutter, the world renowned German concert violinist, once said Andrade was responsible for “the most passionate violin playing I have ever heard”. Another famous violinist, Victor Lieberman, said her music was “perfect in sound and expression”. Both tributes were included in the program for Andrade’s funeral. The memorial service was attended by more than 200 mourners. Two of her children gave a tribute at the funeral, along with her husband and two friends.

Andrade was a brave and confident witness, foregoing the option of testifying behind a screen. Brewer’s lawyer was aggressive, saying: “You have told this jury a complete pack of lies about the visit to this house.”

Andrade replied: “This is why cases don’t come to court. This happened.”

“You spent the night lying next to two of your rapists?” asked the attorney, referring to Andrade’s account of sleeping three in a bed with the Brewers after she said they had raped her.

Andrade answered: “But this happened. I felt guilty; I did not know how to get out of it.

“This is a lie,” responded Brewer’s lawyer. “You could have left the house at any time.”

Andrade replied: “You have got no idea clearly about what it is like to be raped. You have clearly no feminine understanding of what someone goes through like that. What shock your body goes through. How you almost feel you deserve it.”

Michael Brewer and his ex-wife Kay Brewer. Photograph: Dave Thompson/PA

Take a long look at the Brewers. They are monsters! They should never be allowed to be around children for the rest of their lives. Six years in prison does not fit the crime of rape. He had a slick lawyer and Ms. Andrade only had the truth, the hurt, and eventually her demise as her defense. It wasn’t enough to put Brewer away for life.

Now take a long look at Ms. Andrade, devoted mother and wife, prominent musician, destroyed by this disgusting predator.

Violinist Frances Andrade

Ms. Andrade told a friend that giving evidence had felt like being ‘raped all over again’. These last words should be part of her painful epitaph.

Fresh Abuse Claims Hit Top Music School

As Orchestras in America are busy hiring their 30-something foreign conductors (obviously experienced older American conductors are not worth the trouble of considering) and musicians and management are having their usual fights about contracts, i.e. money, even forcing orchestras to cancel all or part of their seasons, there is a quiet (at least on this side of the Pond) but serious scandal that just won’t go away in the UK. There have been countless allegations of abuse of students by their professors in some of the most elite music schools.

As report in the UK’s The Independent  on May 12, “a former Yehudi Menuhin School pupil describes serious abusive and inappropriate behavior. Sacha Barlow, who is now assistant principal violist at the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra in the US, studied at the Surrey-based institution until 1989. She says she “endured” her time there and it left emotional scars. Speaking from America, Ms Barlow said: ‘There was a lot of inappropriate behaviour that a number of teachers engaged in. A couple of them should not have been allowed anywhere near children.’ ”

The newspaper goes on and states, “Last week, the cellist Michal Kaznowski revealed that his former cello tutor Maurice Gendron controlled students through sadistic teaching methods over a 10-year period to 1977. A Surrey police investigation began earlier last week following allegations that the now deceased founding music director and Belgian pianist Marcel Gazelle assaulted girls in the school’s bedrooms.”

In a separate investigation, reports of sexual abuse at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester resulted in a second arrest on Friday. Duncan McTier, 58, a professor at the esteem Royal Academy of Music, was arrested on suspicion of indecently assaulting a 21-year-old student at Manchester’s Royal Northern College of Music in 1994. To date,  39 teachers past and present at the Manchester schools are now under investigation and police have appealed for victims or witnesses to continue to come forward.

Of course there are plenty of denials of the alleged charges. Richard Hillier, headmaster at the Yehudi Menuhin School, said: “I am not aware of any concerns expressed by pupils or staff in the mid-1980s.”

Some come to the defense of these predators and remark what was “accepted” 25 years ago years ago is now considered criminal. Something is just not right with that type of thinking: groping, fondling, denigrating, and sadistic teaching methods were all proper behavior for a teacher at these schools in the 1980s? Sexual and physical abuse was and is illegal and immoral during ANY time period! Instructors using their positions as leverage for committing these crimes should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Let’s hope more victims come forward and that this investigation puts those who took part in this horrific behavior are punished and moreover, are NEVER allowed to go near children for the rest of their loves.