Eric Abramovitz clarinetist sues ex for deleting his scholarship offer.
Eric Abramovitz was 7 years old when he first learned to play the clarinet. By the time he was 20, the Montreal native had become an award-winning clarinetist, studying with some of Canada’s most elite teachers and performing a solo with Quebec’s finest symphony orchestra.
During his second year studying at McGill University, he decided to apply to the world-class Colburn Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles, which offers every student a scholarship covering tuition, room and board, and living expenses. He hoped to study under Yehuda Gilad, an internationally renowned clarinet professor who accepts only two new students per year at Colburn.
Abramovitz spent hours every night practicing, he said in an interview with The Washington Post. And after his live audition in Los Angeles in February 2014, he was confident that he would be accepted.
Weeks later, he opened an email signed by Gilad and letting him know he had not been selected for the program. He was crushed. Abramovitz ended up finishing his bachelor’s degree at McGill, delaying his professional musical career.
“I just invested so much,” Abramovitz said. “I gave it all I had.”
But two years later, Abramovitz would find out that he was, in fact, accepted to the program. The letter was sent not by Gilad but by Abramovitz’s girlfriend, a flute student at McGill who had spent night after night consoling him about the rejection, Abramovitz said.
The girlfriend had logged onto his email account and deleted his acceptance letter to Colburn, Abramovitz said. She impersonated Abramovitz in an email to Gilad, declining the offer because he would be “elsewhere.” Then she impersonated Gilad through a fake email address, telling Abramovitz he had not been accepted, according to Abramovitz.
Abramovitz suspects it was a scheme to ensure that he wouldn’t move away. Or perhaps, he wonders, was the girlfriend jealous?
On Wednesday, a judge in Ontario Superior Court awarded Abramovitz $350,000 in damages in Canadian dollars (more than $260,000 U.S. dollars) caused by his girlfriend’s “reprehensible betrayal of trust” and “despicable interference in Mr Abramovitz’s career,” the judge, D.L. Corbett, wrote.
Not only did Abramovitz suffer a loss of income and a delayed education, but he also had a “closely held personal dream snatched from him by a person he trusted,” the judge wrote.
In 2016, about two years after he thought he was rejected by Gilad, Abramovitz applied once more to study with the renowned professor.
Gilad remembered Abramovitz. And after his audition, Gilad asked him a perplexing question: “What are you doing here? You rejected me. ”
“Clearly something must have gone wrong,” Abramovitz said he thought then. At first, Abramovitz thought he could have been deceived by a “computer-savvy clarinetist out there who wanted my demise.”
By this point, he and his girlfriend had already been broken up for more than a year. Even so, it did not occur to him that she could be responsible for impersonating him. “I never would’ve even considered that the person I trusted the most would have done something like this to me.”
But then one of his friends suggested the possibility that his ex-girlfriend could be responsible. After all, when they dated, Abramovitz essentially lived with her, leaving his computer easily accessible to her. She knew his passwords and could have easily logged on to his email.