Trumpeter Michael Sachs resigns from the Cleveland Institute of Music
Michael Sachs, chair of the Cleveland Institute of Music’s brass division, has resigned after 35 years. Sachs, who has also been principal trumpet for the Cleveland Orchestra since 1988, shared the news in a Facebook post Saturday evening. The renowned trumpeter said online that he was not fired or asked to leave, and his departure is not related to any Title IX violation or accusation.
He wrote that his decision stems from receiving an email from CIM’s attorney and HR that “asserted that I had made a statement which I have never made.” No further details were provided, but he wrote that it was “not the first baseless attack” by CIM officials. The full statement reads:
By now, many of you may have heard that, as of yesterday, I resigned from my position as faculty member, head of the trumpet department, and chair of the brass division at The Cleveland Institute of Music.
Since many things may be swirling around, I want to make several facts clear:
1) The decision to resign from CIM was entirely mine.
2) I was not fired or asked to leave.
3) There was absolutely no issue of any kind involving a Title IX violation or accusation.
My resignation after 35 years of service to CIM was precipitated by an email that I received yesterday from HR and CIM’s lawyer. This email asserted that I had made a statement which I have never made. I must admit that when I first opened the email, I thought it was an error or a prank. I soon realized it was not. I inferred from the remainder of the email that they were threatening me with legal action.
I am confident that my colleagues will confirm I have been a voice for moderation, cooperation, and team-playing in all matters concerning the faculty and administration.
This incident was not the first baseless attack by members of CIM’s administration on my character, reputation, and integrity. Because I will not tolerate any further such attacks, I made the decision to resign from all positions that I held with the Cleveland Institute of Music, effective immediately.
As heart-wrenchingly difficult as it was, I had to conclude that I can no longer be a party to CIM's institutional culture. I will miss my students more than words can say.
The school said late Saturday that it does not comment on personnel matters. The move comes just a day after CIM Board Chair Susan Rothmann released a letter to faculty and students lauding school administration while saying “a public campaign designed to damage CIM is being waged by a small group of people who oppose the evolution of the institute.” The letter also contained a link to a “CIM Fact-Check” webpage listing myths about senior leadership.
The document also referenced Carlos Kalmar, CIM’s director of orchestral studies. He “entered into a leave of absence” for the remainder of the semester in September following several trying months.
Starting in April, the conductor was investigated following allegations of inappropriate conduct. He was cleared in August, but students staged a sit-in and circulated a petition calling for his resignation in September. The school responded with a statement saying that administration was working with students “to create opportunities for discussion.” A planned Sept. 26 performance at Severance Hall, under Kalmar’s baton, was also canceled.
CIM also reduced its administrative staff by 15% in July.