Thursday, December 21, 2017

More on Sexual Abuse in the Classical Music World

I woke up today to the news that three singers and an instrumentalist have accused Charles Dutoit of sexual assault. You can read all about it in this AP article, published at the Time Magazine web site. or at other outlets that have picked up the story. A tiny amount of research shows that the deceased veteran soprano who warned Paula Rasmussen about Dutoit during the run of Les Troyens in LA must have been Carol Neblett, who died only weeks ago.

In the article about Dutoit, note, particularly, people who don't want their names printed because it might affect their ability to get work. This should not happen.

A few more good articles have been published recently on the subject of sexual abuse:

  • Anne Midgette minces no words, warning orchestras and opera companies everywhere about the consequences of ignoring what might be going on within their institutions: Institutions raced to dump James Levine. They should look hard at themselves.
  • Anthony Tommasini minces words, as usual, saying, oh, he'll move his Levine recordings out of the living room. How's that for a decisive move? (Follow-up on January 2: who cares what Tommasini does with his Levine recordings? It is completely immaterial to what really matters, which is 1) policies that protect performers from predatory peers, conductors, administrators, etc. 2) administrators who act on those policies.)
  • Ellen McSweeney sums up a few things: Advocates Have Found Five Qualities Associated With Sexual Violence. The Classical Music World Hits Four of Them. Omitted: almost all general directors of performing arts orgs are male. The very few exceptions include the NY Philharmonic (Deborah Borda), San Francisco Performances (founded by Ruth Felt, who was president for around 35 years, Melanie Smith is currently president), Washington Performing Arts (Jenny Bilfield, formerly of Stanford Lively Arts, er, Stanford Live), Kennedy Center (Deborah Rutter), and Lincoln Center (Deborah Spar). I would have mentioned concertmasters as having unusual power and prestige within an orchestra. 
  • Jeremy Eicher has a few things to say. In classical music, a year of urgency and of reckoning


Anonymous said...

This is the same Charles Dutoit who resigned from the Montreal Symphony in 2002 after the musicians called him a "tyrant" who ruled by "verbal and psychological abuse," and that he treated them "with derision and condescension" and like "battered spouses." (source)

Didn't make much of a dent in his career, though.

Lisa Hirsch said...

That same Charles Dutoit, and thank you for reminding me - I remember being incensed at the time over his behavior.