Erased from history: The rapist by his enembles

Erased from history: The rapist by his enembles


norman lebrecht

February 23, 2015

Two early music ensembles that were founded and led by Philip Pickett – jailed on Friday for pupil rape at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama – have moved swiftly to sanitise their website of his image and his name. No trace of the founder can be found.

Pickett’s own joint website with the New London Consort,,  has been taken down.

Pickett, 64, had arranged for the trial to be put back so that he could fulfil dates with the group. Even after he was convicted,  he sought permission to arrange three music festivals. The judge castigated him for having ‘his head in the sand’.

How the ensembles will survive without his entrepreneurial energy remains to be seen.

philip pickett


  • gerald brennan says:

    This is an injustice to Pickett.
    He should reap what he deserves from the rape charges, but he also merits praise for the good he’s done with early music. Many of those people who want to airbrush him out of existence owe him their professional lives and status.

    • Michael says:

      Anyone care to draw the line between shoplifting and murder to decide when a criminal should be “erased from history”?

      A more appropriate response by these ensembles would have been to include a statement that they had been founded by Philip Pickett. It should add that he had been found guilty in 2015 of rape and that the ensembles had decided not to include any further information about him on the site.

  • Jonathan Bellman says:

    Golly, yes. Probably some of the rape victims owe their careers to him. I wonder why they are so vindictive…?

    This is *rape*, a felony for which there is no undoing the damage, and (if that weren’t bad enough) it involved minors.

    There is no “yeah, but” on this one. None. I have truly enjoyed recordings of his, but am completely in support of his name being blotted out.

    Human first, musician/artist/creative genius after.

    • Ian pace says:

      Strictly speaking, these crimes did not involve minors, at least not in the sense of being under the age where legally able to consent to sexual activity.

      • Will moseng says:

        Could your age theory be more appalling? It’s rapE. He was in a position of power. Are you trying to parse ” acceptable” rape?

      • Jay says:

        Ian, rape is rape!

        • Hilary says:

          But accuracy is critical in a case like this. Rape is not being questioned , but the description ‘minors’ which is being confused with allegations which were made against the late Sir Leon Brittan and upon which a pun was made during the minors strike in the 1980s.

  • Carter says:

    What a bizarre discussion. The implication seems to be that there’s something not-quite-so-bad about a rapist if he happens to be good at his day job! ‘Yes, so-and-so was a bit rapey, but he was the best thing ever to happen to the frozen fish industry – lots of people owe him their careers.’ I think any ensembles tainted by their association with him should disband; new groups would arise from their ashes soon enough, with no reason to include him in their history.