Bozeman Symphony performances canceled due to conductor allegations

Posted at 3:15 PM, Feb 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-08 18:00:25-05

BOZEMAN – Two Bozeman Symphony performances that were supposed to happen this week have now been canceled due to the allegations made toward Orchestra Director and Conductor Matthew Savery.

Savery has served as the conductor for 25 years. Last week a letter with exhibits, or complaints, was given to the Symphony Board with claims from several people alleging bullying, threats, and sexual harassment. The letter was written by Else Trygstad-Burke who said when she first met Savery he behaved inappropriately toward her.

“He spoke with a friend of mine who was an office employee at the time about how incredible my breasts were when he first met me,” said Trygstad-Burke. “That was when I was 17 years old.”

Trygstad-Burke said Savery has never said anything to her personally, but she has seen him bully and mistreat others. One instance that hit her the most is when she said she overheard him say pregnant women were having a negative effect on the orchestra. She said this comment struck a nerve with her because she had a friend who recently experienced a miscarriage.

Trygstad-Burke said once she came forward, many others contacted her, lending support and sharing their own stories. She said there are 14 complaints being brought to the Symphony board claiming Savery has bullied, threatened and sexually harassed several people. She said these claims don’t even scratch the surface of what she has heard.

“After I sent this letter who had experiences with him and with the board president and they told me that I needed to take steps to protect my personal and professional relationships because they would be targeted,” said Trygstad-Burke.

Chair of the board Stephen Schachman said the board has started to investigate the claims through a third party but until then Savery will continue at his current position.

“We considered the allegations, Matthew’s behavior, and whether or not there were any safety risks to any of our employees to continue to have Matthew conduct, ” said Schachman. “We determined that there were not.”

Savery declined to comment on any of the allegations but did say he is fully cooperating with the investigation.

Reporting by Mederios Babb for MTN News