Baltimore Symphony Orchestra extends suspension of concertmaster Jonathan Carney, but judge denies peace order

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra announced late Tuesday that concertmaster Jonathan Carney’s suspension will continue through Sunday. In a statement, the BSO cited Carney’s “behaving in an unprofessional manner and exercising poor judgment.”

The news came the same day a judge denied a peace order against him.

Carney’s initial suspension — set to last through at least Tuesday — began after revelations last week that he allegedly threatened an employee of the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra.

A judge had granted a peace order filed against Carney last week as a result of the Oct. 31 incident. But at a final hearing on Tuesday, the peace order was denied, according to online records.

“We feel vindicated by it. Just because someone makes a charge does not mean there’s anything wrong,” said Neil J. Ruther, Carney’s attorney. “We’re very pleased with the decision and maintained from the beginning there was no substance to these charges.”

He declined to comment on Carney’s extended suspension.

“I’m happy the judge acknowledged the facts and this is now behind me,” Carney said in a statement from a spokeswoman. “I’m grateful for all the support I’ve received and look forward to getting back to performing with my fellow musicians.”

Charles Curlett, an attorney representing the woman who filed for the peace order, said Wednesday that his client was pleased with the outcome of the hearing even though the order was denied.

“As we made abundantly clear to the court, while Mr. Carney may not pose a continuing threat to our client’s physical safety, his comments were threatening, intimidating and grossly inappropriate, particularly for someone in such a position of power,” Curlett said in an email Wednesday.

The peace order followed a complaint filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission by principal oboist Katherine Needleman against the BSO related to sexual harassment allegations involving Carney. Needleman’s complaint alleged Carney retaliated against her after she rejected his advances in 2005, and that the orchestra allowed a hostile work environment.

A spokeswoman for the orchestra said that in Carney’s absence, BSO musicians, including Audrey Wright, will serve as concertmaster for upcoming performances.

Baltimore Sun reporters Sarah Meehan and Lillian Reed contributed to this article.

ctkacik@baltsun.com

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