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(Image courtesy: William VerMeulen)

Horn Professor William VerMeulen Retires Amidst Scandal

Rice University's Shepherd School of Music Dean has informed its students and recent alumni that VerMeulen has retired, after the latter’s “private images” appeared on social media


Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music (SSM) has announced horn professor William “Bill” VerMeulen’s retirement from its faculty, effective immediately. 

VerMeulen has taught at SSM and served as the principal horn of the Houston Symphony since 1990. In 1985, he received a Distinguished Teacher of America Certificate of Excellence from President Reagan and the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars.

Recently, private x-rated, images of VerMeulen have been shared on social media. Additionally, allegations of inappropriate behavior have also been shared on social media, specifically in the comments of oboist and advocate Katherine Needleman's Facebook page.

An email that the Dean of SSM, Matthew Loden, sent to SSM students was recently forwarded to The Violin Channel.

In it, Loden says that despite Vermeulen's teaching record, "there have recently been serious allegations made against Professor VerMeulen, which we will continue to address."

“Rice is aware of private images that have recently resurfaced on social media," the email continues. "Rice is reviewing the allegations and is prepared to investigate any reports of misconduct. As we review any new information, we will maintain the privacy of all involved. Rice does not tolerate sexual harassment or sexual misconduct by any member of the Rice community.

“Rice is also committed to fostering a positive and safe educational, working, and living environment where students, faculty, staff, and visitors can thrive free from sexual harassment or misconduct of any kind, in compliance with Title IX, a federal law that prohibits discrimination based on sex in educational programs and activities.

The email goes on to encourage people to report allegations of misconduct at https://aeeo.rice.edu/get-help

The Violin Channel reached out to the Houston Symphony, and a representative said that the organization did "not comment on individual personnel matters, as a fundamental principle we evaluate any allegations of misconduct and will take any actions we determine are necessary and appropriate to ensure that we are providing a safe environment for our musicians, staff, and the public.” They declined to comment on whether the horn player has been suspended from the orchestra.

VerMeulen is no longer displayed on SSM’s faculty page; the same is seen on Rochester’s Eastman School of Music directory, and the Sun Valley Music Festival’s faculty profiles.

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