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Matthew Halls says he was never presented with Bach Fest sex discrimination charges

Oregon Bach Festival’s former artistic director Matthew Halls denied in a statement issued Wednesday, Nov. 15, that he had ever before now seen the charges of sexual discrimination lodged against him in documents released to Eugene Weekly this week by the University of Oregon.

"I am reading about these complaints for the first time now,” Halls wrote in the statement, which was released by Portland lawyer Charese Rohny. “At no stage did anybody from the University of Oregon or the Oregon Bach Festival leadership present me — or my attorney — with these documents.”

Halls went on to say he values diversity and to apologize to “anyone who felt I valued one gender over another.”

In an online story published Tuesday, Nov. 14, EW described a sex discrimination complaint filed by an unnamed OBF participant after the festival last summer. The woman musician complained that Halls slighted her and other female musicians by not paying them as much attention in rehearsals as he gave to male musicians.

The document does not show that Halls was ever presented with the complaint, but notes that OBF Executive Director Janelle McCoy sent an email to a university official on Aug. 16 that Halls’ contract with the festival would not be renewed. He was fired on Aug. 24.

Halls’ entire statement is below.

I am reading about these complaints for the first time now. At no stage did anybody from the University of Oregon or the Oregon Bach Festival leadership present me — or my attorney — with these documents. I was not given any opportunity to respond to these complaints before my contract was terminated. At no time did UO leadership talk to me about any impropriety on my part or suggest any changes in my teaching methods or treatment of musicians.

As a life-long musician and performer, I have always valued diversity among those I work with because it greatly enriches the quality of our work. Until now, I was unaware of any concerns about my treatment of the OBF musicians when I was Artistic Director. I apologise to anyone who felt that I favoured one gender over another. I do not in any way intend to favour a particular gender and I wish I had been given an opportunity to address these concerns while I was still employed.