The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Acclaimed conductor Charles Dutoit cancels concerts and loses orchestra affiliations amid allegations of sexual assault | December 23, 2017

By Jacob Stockinger

The scandal of sexual misconduct — ranging from discomfort and harassment to abuse and rape – keeps mushrooming.

Now Swiss-born conductor Charles Dutoit (below), who won multiple Grammy awards and led the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and Philadelphia Orchestra for many years, has been accused of sexual assault by three opera singers and one musician.

One of the accusers is soprano Sylvia McNair (below), who has performed in Madison with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra. The other three have remained anonymous.

So far, Dutoit has not responded to the allegations. But as a result, the 81-year-old has seen the cancellation of concerts later this winter and spring with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Cleveland Symphony Orchestra.

In addition, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, where he is artistic director and principal conductor, have also severed ties with Dutoit.

Here is a link to the story from the BBC:

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-42452715

And here is a story from The New York Times:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/21/arts/music/charles-dutoit-sexual-misconduct.html

And here is a link to the original story by the Associated Press:

https://apnews.com/278275ccc09442d98a794487a78a67d4

In classical music, longtime Metropolitan Opera conductor James Levine was the first big name to be caught up in the current sexual misconduct allegations. Levine was accused of sexually abusing teenage boys who were apprentices.

And here is a link to the story in The New York Times about Metropolitan Opera artistic director and conductor James Levine:

https://welltempered.wordpress.com/2017/12/04/classical-music-accusations-of-sexual-harassment-sexual-discrimination-and-sexual-abuse-extend-to-classical-music-including-former-metropolitan-opera-maestro-james-levine/

Given the egotistical reputation of so many conductors and the patriarchal, authoritarian nature of the “maestro culture” of many performers and teachers, The Ear is sure that other names of important figures will soon emerge.

Who will be next?


10 Comments »

  1. She’s sung twice w the Madison symphony too including December 2016’ Christmas program. Beverly Taylor

    Professor Beverly Taylor Director of Choral Activities University of Wisconsin-Madison

    btaylor1@wisc.edu

    >

    Comment by Beverly Taylor — December 23, 2017 @ 5:57 pm

  2. Sexual violation of women and children has been out of control for a very long time, centuries, millennia, probably always. So much so that many men (and some women) view it as normal ‘boys will be boys’ behavior. Now that it is finally being discussed openly and seriously, are we to sweep it back under the rug?

    Comment by slfiore — December 23, 2017 @ 10:02 am

  3. In this case (Charles Dutoit)… Actually… I’m not surprised.

    Comment by jim — December 23, 2017 @ 5:42 am

  4. THIS IS REPUGNANT, ABSOLUTELY REPUGNANT THAT ENTIRELY UNSUBSTANTIATED ALLEGATIONS SHOULD IMMEDIATELY RESULT IN SUCH NEGATIVE SANCTIONS !!!!!

    NOW EVEN MY CHICAGO SYMPHONY IS GUILTY…

    …SHAME ON THEM, SHAME ON ALL OF YOU WHO ARE TOO COWARDLY TO SAY “ENOUGH” !!!!!

    SHAME ON YOU !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Comment by Terry Baer — December 23, 2017 @ 12:47 am

    • Is your CAP LOCK stuck in the ON position? It always seems like you are SCREAMING…

      Comment by mark — December 23, 2017 @ 5:41 am

      • REGARDING BULLSHIT LIKE THIS, EVERYONE SHOULD BE SCREAMING INCLUDING YOU !!!!!

        Comment by Terry Baer — December 23, 2017 @ 7:30 am

  5. It’s beginning to look like just about everyone with any name recognition has committed sexual harassment routinely for decades. What the hell is the matter with men?

    Comment by buppanasu — December 23, 2017 @ 12:06 am

    • ARE YOU A FEMALE?

      Comment by Terry Baer — December 23, 2017 @ 12:40 am

      • I am female. Please don’t cast aspersions on the victims. I was about six years older than most music students at UW in the 70s. Two male faculty members behaved inappropriately with me and other female students; the difference was that I wasn’t intimidated. In one case I went to the School of Music director at the time and told him what was going on. I don’t know whether the faculty member was ever spoken to, but I think he was because that class was the lowest grade I got in college: undeserved, blatant punishment. We don’t need men defending men now that the dirty secret is out in the open. Are some accusations false? Probably, but that’s no reason to disregard all of them. Since this is generally an unobserved one-on-one violation, insisting that all predators be considered innocent until proven guilty is another injustice. A different way of adjudicating is needed.

        Comment by slfiore — December 23, 2017 @ 8:14 am

      • EVERYTHING YOU SAY IS VALID, HOWEVER I AM MERELY SUGGESTING(STRONGLY)THAT THIS SITUATION IS GETTING OUT OF CONTROL AND I AM EXTREMELY TROUBLED BY IT…

        …AND WAITING TO SEE IF YUJA WANG(AND MARTHA ARGERICH, TOO, OF COURSE) MAY ADDRESS THIS AS SHE, YUJA, AND DUTOIT HAVE GIVEN US SEVERAL WONDERFUL PERFORMANCES.

        BUT, I SUPPOSE SHE WON’T(AND MS ARGERICH,ALSO, FOR OBVIOUS REASONS)AS SHE IS “ABOVE THE FRAY” AND NOT GIVEN TO SOCIAL COMMENTARY…

        Comment by Terry Baer — December 23, 2017 @ 9:42 am


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