Fax flurry sparks fury at Royal music academy

May 2, 1997

THE POLICE have been called to the Royal Academy of Music following a flurry of "scurrilous" faxes. Originating from inside the academy and signed by "RAM staff", the faxes have been sent to the Higher Education Funding Council and the National Audit Office, as well as to The THES, college principal Curtis Price said.

The faxes lament the "low state of morale" following a recent spate of high-profile senior management departures.

The messages condemn the departures of vice principal Peter James, chair of performance Larry Dreyfus, managing director Patrick Maddams and dean of postgraduate studies Kimberly Marshall, as "blood-letting". "We feel that the academy's governors are completely out of touch with the musical world they purport to serve," one said. Dr Price's Pounds 84,948 salary was also condemned as "repugnant".

But Dr Price said that Dr Marshall and Mr Maddams left as part of a "management restructure". Professor Dreyfus went to King's College London and Dr James took early retirement due to ill health, he said.

Two key people whom the faxes say have left the academy are still there. They claim Paul Patterson, head of composition, was pushed out "because his popular compositions were not highbrow enough" and that Lutz Kohler, director of orchestral conducting, was pushed for "preferring Brahms to Britten". Both are still with the RAM, said Dr Price.

Dr Price said: "We clearly have a very disaffected former member of staff sending these faxes. We are trying to chase the source. Most of the information is wrong and much scurrilous. We take a dim view of this and the matter is under investigation. We have our suspicions about who is doing it." A college spokesman confirmed that it "was a matter between the RAM and the police".

Frank Wibaut, representative of lecturers' union Natfhe at the RAM, said that morale was high. "We now have very good working relations with the management," he said. The timing is frustrating for the RAM, expected to announce details of expansion plans this week following a Pounds 7.5-million lottery grant and a redoubled fund-raising campaign.

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