'Gifted' clarinetist whose dreams were sabotaged by ex-girlfriend awarded $266K: Court

Eric Abramovitz's ex-girlfriend faked a rejected letter from a musical school.

June 15, 2018, 2:08 PM
PHOTO: McGill University campus in Montreal, Canada.
McGill University campus in Montreal, Canada.
STOCK/Getty Images

When some musicians go through a harrowing break up, they write sad love songs.

One Canadian clarinetist got a court-awarded $266,000 payout instead.

A Canadian court determined this week that the alleged deceptions of Eric Abramovitz's ex-girlfriend were worth a hefty sum.

Eric Abramovitz was a student at McGill University in Quebec, Canada, when he applied to attend the Coburn Conservancy of Music in Los Angeles. At the time, Abramovitz was living with his girlfriend, Jennifer Lee, a fellow musician at McGill, according to the courts.

Abramovitz, who wanted to go to the Coburn Conservancy of Music to study under an internationally recognized clarinet teacher, believed he aced his in-person audition in February 2014.

And Abramovitz's dream email acceptance to the Coburn program arrived on March 27, 2014 -- but he never received it.

Lee allegedly intercepted the email and made it look to him as if he was rejected -- at the same time told the school that he would not be attending.

"[Ms.] Lee accessed [Mr.] Abramovitz’s email. She intercepted the acceptance email. She responded to it, in [Mr.] Abramovitz’s name, declining the offer because he would 'be elsewhere.' [Ms.] Lee then deleted the acceptance email," the decision states.

From there, she allegedly used a fake email account that resembled the name of the prestigious clarinet teacher to write an email to Abramovitz that he had not been accepted.

Beyond that, she also told Abramovitz, under the guise of the teacher, that he had been awarded a spot under his tutelage at the University of Southern California, according to the court's decision. The fake email added that he'd only be awarded a $5,000 scholarship, even though tuition at that program would be about $51,000, an amount Abramovitz couldn't afford, the decision said.

"Ms Lee knew about Mr Abramovitz’s financial circumstances and that he would not be able to accept the fake offer she had created for a position at USC," the court decision states.

"This was despicable conduct by [Ms.] Lee," the decision later states.

Ambramovitz, whom the court called a "gifted musician, an accomplished clarinetist" who had won national music awards, lost out on years or earning power and financial opportunity, according to the court.

He finished his music degree at McGill and went on to attend a certificate program at USC, with the famed professor, but "two years later than he had hoped, and not on full scholarship," the decision states.

In the court filing, the judge seems to sympathize with the impact that the deception had on Abramovitz's career.

"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," the judge wrote in the court decision. "One hears, particularly in the arts, of the 'big breaks' that can launch a promising artist to a stratospheric career. I cannot speculate as too 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."

All told, Abramovitz was awarded $350,000 Canadian dollars in damages, which converts to $266,483 in U.S. currency.

Meanwhile, Lee did not respond to contact requests by the court, according to the decision. ABC News could not reach Lee for comment, either.

The court decision states that a defendant “who has been noted in default is deemed to admit the truth of all allegations of fact made in the statement of claim,” meaning that she did not fight or deny the allegations in court.

"Mr Abramovitz was completely taken in by this deception," the decision states.

Abramovitz has been performing as part of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, but told Buzzfeed that he recently accepted a position with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and will be returning to Canada.

"It's very hard to know what my path would have been had this not happened," he told Buzzfeed. "But I am happy and proud of myself because I landed on my feet. I have no regrets. I have always aspired to make a living doing what I love, and I have, so I am very fortunate."

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