Musicians sue NYC philharmonic after ouster over horn player’s unproven rape allegations

May 2, 2024 | Political News

Two musicians who were recently ousted from the New York Philharmonic over unproven, 14-year-old allegations that they raped a fellow member of the iconic ensemble have filed lawsuits in an effort to get their jobs back.  

Associate principal trumpet Matthew Muckey, 39, and principal oboist Liang Wang, 44, were originally fired in 2018 after 44-year-old former horn player Cara Kizer accused them of having drugged and sexually assaulted her but were reinstated two years later. In April, they were told for a second time that they were no longer welcome.  

According to the New York Post, Muckey and Wang filed their respective lawsuits on Wednesday in the Southern District of New York. Both the NY Philharmonic and the American Federation of Musicians union to which the pair belonged, Local 802, were named as defendants.   

The incident is alleged to have taken place in 2010 at the apartment Muckey and Wang were renting in Vail, Colorado while performing at the Bravo! Vail Valley music festival.  

At the time, Kizer reported them to the police, but charges were not brought against them due to a lack of evidence. To date, neither Muckey nor Wang have faced any criminal repercussions for what Kizer claims they did to her. Kizer left the group in 2012 with a six-figure settlement.  

While many within the music community knew of the alleged incident, it was only in 2018 that the two were suspended by the New York Philharmonic. An internal investigation resulted in them being fired, but Local 802 fought on their behalf and managed to secure an independent arbitrator, who found that they had been unfairly terminated.   

When they were reinstated in 2020, orchestra officials released a statement saying they were “profoundly disappointed by the arbitrator's decision.”  

This time around, however, Local 802 has refused to step in, instead claiming that the orchestra's “culture” needs to be changed.