Michael Sachs Resigns from Cleveland Institute of Music

Turbulent times unfold at the prestigious Cleveland Institute of Music.

by Nouman Rasool
Michael Sachs Resigns from Cleveland Institute of Music
© The Cleveland Orchestra/Youtube

In a startling announcement from the revered Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM), Michael Sachs, the venerable principal trumpeter for the Cleveland Orchestra since 1988, and chair of the institution’s brass division, has tendered his resignation, a position he tenaciously held for over three and a half decades. The startling disclosure came directly from Sachs, utilizing a heartfelt Facebook post on Saturday evening, diligently assuring the music community that his departure is unconnected to any Title IX violation or other improprieties.

Sachs elucidated that the catalyst behind his decision to resign arose from a somewhat bewildering email from CIM’s human resources and legal team, an email that audaciously asserted he made a statement which he adamantly denies ever making. In a plaintive recounting, Sachs voiced his initial disbelief, mistaking the correspondence for a misguided prank or mistake. The reality, however, quickly set in as he perceived an implicit threat of legal action lurking behind the words.

Emphasizing his inherent commitment to moderation, cooperation, and cohesive team play within faculty and administrative matters, Sachs lamented that this incident was not the inaugural attack by CIM’s administration on his reputation and character. Thus, unwilling to withstand any additional, baseless assaults on his integrity, the distinguished trumpeter decided to terminate all associations with CIM, effective immediately.

Sachs's Heartfelt Farewell

Expressing an overwhelming emotional struggle, Sachs candidly shared his anguish over departing from a segment of CIM's institutional culture that he has devotedly nurtured for decades. A poignant farewell to his students encapsulated the depths of his heartache over this unexpected decision.

In an undercurrent of administrative discord, this news emerges just one day following a communication from CIM Board Chair, Susan Rothmann, to faculty and students. Rothmann, whilst extolling the administration, acknowledged a disruptive "public campaign" driven by a cohort adamantly opposing the institute's evolution. A “CIM Fact-Check” webpage disputing myths about senior leadership was notably shared within the letter.

Moreover, Carlos Kalmar, CIM’s director of orchestral studies, navigated through a turbid sea of allegations and investigations into purported inappropriate conduct earlier this year. Although cleared in August, persistent student protests and calls for his resignation ushered him into a “leave of absence” through the semester’s remainder, reflecting the simmering tumult permeating the esteemed institution.

The melodious halls of CIM, presently enveloped by a maelstrom of controversies and public scrutiny, render an unfolding symphony of both triumphs and tribulations, as the institution navigates through its current challenges, striving to preserve its storied legacy and eminent stature within the music world. This unfolding story continues to reverberate through the music community, inviting further inquiry and reflection on the pulsating dynamics within our cherished musical institutions.