Everybody swears their ex-was a crazy person. Sure, your ex might have left you on “read” a couple times or they got mad at you for laughing a little too much with someone of the opposite sex, but did they ever sabotage your entire clarinet career, ruin your chance to study under noted clarinetist Yehuda Gilad, and screw you out of 350,000 dollars? Didn’t think so. With the exception of Eric Abramovitz and myself, of course, no one can claim their ex-was THAT crazy.
Eric Abramovitz was an extremely prodigious child. He learned to play the clarinet at age 7 and never looked back. He won first prize at the Canadian Music Competition six times and was a featured soloist with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestre Symphonique de Québec. Needless to say, Eric was a rising star.
Towards the end of 2013, Abramovitz applied to the Colburn Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles, a program that, if accepted, would give him access to some of the greatest clarinet players in the world, including Yehuda Gilad, and an almost certain high paying Orchestra job after graduation. He auditioned live in front of his would-be professors, and a month later, he was selected.
However, his girlfriend at the time, Jennifer Lee, found the letter of acceptance in his inbox and deleted it, out of fear of him leaving her for the spot (don’t share your passwords, folks). Lee then posed as Gilad, declining his admission to the program. Abramovitz didn’t find out until a year later when he decided to keep pursuing clarinet at USC, not on scholarship, where he was able to study under Yehuda Gilad part-time.
Gilad eventually approached him and asked, “Why did you reject me?” Taken aback, Abramovitz asked, “Why did you reject me?” Unable to figure out the lapse in communication at the time, the mystery lingered until Eric uncovered the email that his Ex had sent pretending to be Gilad. He suspected some tampering had happened and decided to do some digging. The recovery email address associated with the fake email that had come from an address titled email@example.com was that of Jennifer Lee and the phone number matched up too. Of course, Gilad had never seen the email before, and Eric discovered the truth.
Abramovitz then sued for $300,000 in damages, including loss of reputation, loss of educational opportunity and loss of two years of potential income potential, according to the Montreal Gazette. David L. Corbett, the judge overseeing the case, ruled in his favor and added an additional 50,000 dollars to the penalty against Lee. In his official statement, Corbett said,
“I accept and find that Mr. Abramovitz lost a unique and prestigious educational opportunity, one that would have advanced his career as a professional clarinetist…It is difficult to quantify such a loss. Mr. Abramovitz’s life and career have continued. 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. One hears … of the ‘big breaks’ that can launch a promising artist to a stratospheric career.
“I cannot speculate as to how high and how quickly Mr. Abramovitz’s career might have soared, but for the interference by Ms. Lee. But the law does recognize that the loss of a chance is a very real and compensable loss.”
Lee and Abramovitz broke up for unrelated reasons several months after he was initially offered the spot under Gilad.