Carlos Kalmar Sues the Cleveland Institute of Music for $25 Million

By Francisco Salazar

Conductor Carlos Kalmar is suing the Cleveland Institute of Music for defamation.

The former principal conductor of the institute is seeking $25 million and alleging defamation from a sexual harassment investigation that later cleared him.

The conductor also accused the school of ruining his reputation. The lawsuit noted, “Many students and faculty, misinformed as they were, publicly protested Kalmar. The school placated and surrendered to the misinformed and misled mob. Despite having been cleared of sexual misconduct, and without any administrative proceedings, the school stripped Maestro Kalmar of his duties and placed him on involuntary ‘administrative leave,’ prohibiting him from coming on campus.”

The federal suit was filed in the Northern District of Ohio’s eastern division on January 31.

According to Van Magazine, Susan Rothmann, the chair of CIM’s board of trustees, disclosed the lawsuit to conservatory employees in an email that read, “CIM will vigorously defend itself against the allegations but will not issue any further comment on the matter at this time.”

Kalmar was accused of sexual harassment in 2023. The accusation was made by a student who stated that Kalmar behaved inappropriately. The school took immediate action and asked students to come forward if they had witnessed or experienced sexual harassment by Kalmar, principal conductor and director of orchestral studies and the conducting program. The investigation led to journalist Anne Midgette declining an Honorary Doctorate from the school. In August the conductor was cleared of the accusations but in October he was put on a leave of absence.