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Kansas City Symphony places musician on leave after child porn charge

  • The Kansas City Star
  • Published Wednesday, April 30, 2014, at 12:12 p.m.
  • Updated Wednesday, April 30, 2014, at 10:11 p.m.

The Kansas City Symphony placed principal trumpeter Gary A. Schutza on administrative leave Wednesday after the musician was charged with possessing child pornography.

Schutza, 56, was charged Tuesday in Johnson County District Court with one felony count of sexual exploitation of a child. He was released from custody after posting a $10,000 bond and is scheduled to make his first court appearance May 8. Schutza has been placed on administrative leave from the symphony.

According to the complaint, the alleged crime occurred in 2012 and was investigated by Overland Park police.

A statement from defense attorney Jacquelyn Rokusek said Schutza “is confident we will be able to sort the facts out in the very near future, and we look forward to addressing this issue head on.”

Johnson County court records show that Schutza was placed on probation in 1991 after he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of sexual battery.

“We have placed Mr. Schutza on administrative leave until further notice, and have no further comment while these legal proceedings continue,” symphony executive director Frank Byrne said in a statement emailed to The Star on Wednesday.

Schutza’s tenure as principal trumpet with the symphony began in the 1982-1983 season.

According to the biography on the symphony’s website, Schutza is a native of Irving, Texas, a Dallas suburb.

He studied music at Southern Methodist University and later at the highly respected Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. According to his bio, he played one season as principal trumpet with the Omaha Symphony and as assistant principal trumpet with the old Kansas City Philharmonic for one season before it disbanded. The Kansas City Symphony was formed after the demise of the philharmonic.

Schutza described himself as a founding member of the Kansas City Brass. He was also a composer whose arrangements and original material had been performed by the symphony, the Kansas City Chamber Orchestra, the Kansas City Brass, the Kansas City Symphony Brass Ensemble, and the Fountain City Brass Band.

Bruce Sorrell, music director of the Kansas City Chamber Orchestra, said he had worked with Schutza for years and respected him as a musician.

“He is a fine trumpet player, and has done a lot of solo and ensemble playing with the Kansas City Chamber Orchestra … Audiences and fellow musicians delighted in his virtuosity.”

For future symphony performances, Byrne said, this situation would be treated like any other.

“The symphony has well-established procedures for dealing with absences in the orchestra, and we will treat this situation in the same manner,” he said.

To reach Tony Rizzo, call 816-234-4435 or send email to trizzo@kcstar.com.

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