The Montreal Gazette reported today on a scheme that sounds like a soap opera storyline.
Eric Abramovitz was one of Canada’s most promising young clarinetists.
In 2014, as a student at Canada’s prestigious McGill University, he was interviewing to complete his bachelor’s degree at the Colburn Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles.
Admission would have meant two years of free tuition and room and board — equal to $100,000 Canadian dollars. And he would study with Yehuda Gilad, one of the world’s best clarinet teachers.
“To be chosen is virtually a guarantee of a high-paying symphony career directly out of college,” wrote the Montreal Gazette.
Abramovitz got in. But he didn’t learn about that until two years later.
That’s because Jennifer Lee, his girlfriend of five months, emailed Colburn from Abramovitz’s account rejecting the offer and deleted the admissions email. The Montreal Gazette reports Lee was scared her relationship with Abramovitz would end if he moved 5,000 miles away to Los Angeles.
Lee then made an email account in Gilad’s name: email@example.com. Writing as Gilad, Lee said Abramovitz hadn’t been accepted, but he would be able to study at the University of Southern California. And Lee knew the tuition at USC was out of her boyfriend’s price range.
Abramovitz believed it all, and he ultimately stayed at McGill for his bachelor’s degree.
Two years later, the clarinetist learned of what his ex-girlfriend did. He sued for $300,000 in Canadian dollars, the equivalent of $267,000 in US dollars, for damages including loss of reputation, loss of educational opportunity, and loss of two years of income potential.
The Ontario Superior Court ultimately awarded Abramovitz $350,000 in Canadian dollars. The court awarded him the additional $50,000 for Lee’s “despicable interference in Mr. Abramovitz’s career.”
Ambramovitz is now the assistant principal clarinet at the Nashville Symphony. And Lee never showed up to court or responded to the statement of claim against her.
David L. Corbett, a justice at the Superior Court in Ontario, wrote that Lee destroyed his career in a way that was “difficult to quantify.”
“Imagining how his life would have been different if he had studied for two years under Mr. Gilad, and earned his teacher’s respect and support, requires more speculation than the law permits,” Corbett wrote in his decision. “One hears … of the ‘big breaks’ that can launch a promising artist to a stratospheric career.”
Read the original article at the Montreal Gazette.