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Alumni and students ask Cleveland Institute of Music to consider reinstating Michael Sachs

Michael Sachs, trumpeter and professor and an exterior of a CIM building
Cleveland Institute of Music
More than 70 current and former CIM students released a signed letter Monday, asking the school to try to restore its relationship with trumpeter Michael Sachs. He resigned in October, citing the school's institutional culture.

More than 70 current and former trumpet students from the Cleveland Institute of Music are asking the school to consider re-establishing its relationship with Michael Sachs. The renowned Cleveland Orchestra trumpeter and professor resigned in October after 35 years.

The letter, delivered to the school’s board of trustees on Monday, said CIM has “lost credibility in the world of elite music education.” It called Sachs “the heartbeat of the brass department” and labeled his departure as “terrible and avoidable.”

In announcing his resignation on social media, Sachs stated 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 an email from CIM’s attorney asserting “that I had made a statement which I have never made” while he was part of faculty senate. The new letter stated, “The fact that Michael’s character and intentions at CIM are being questioned is unfathomable.” He has agreed to join the faculty at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia starting next fall.

Sachs’ departure came just after Carlos Kalmar, head of CIM’s conducting program, entered a leave of absence. He was investigated and cleared earlier this year following allegations of inappropriate conduct. Student protests followed, along with a petition calling for the resignation of CIM President and CEO Paul Hogle and Board Chair Dr. Susan Rothmann. Journalist Anne Midgette also dropped out as commencement speaker in the wake of the Title IX investigation.

Rothmann, Hogle and other Cleveland Institute of Music officials have had no comment on these matters. The school did release a response online on October 5. Ideastream Public Media is seeking comment about the letter issued Monday.

Kabir Bhatia is a senior reporter for Ideastream Public Media's arts & culture team.