The ‘naked’ quartet leader is innocent, OK?

The ‘naked’ quartet leader is innocent, OK?


norman lebrecht

April 16, 2015

Stefan Arzberger, leader of the Leipzig String Quartet, has been to hell and back since the day he was arrested without clothes in a New York hotel and charged with assault on a fellow-guest. He is unable to travel or pursue his profession during the course of the investigation. His lawyer has just issued the following summary of the case:



Renowned violinist and member of LSQ Stefan Arzberger while staying in New York the evening before a concert was the victim of a horrible attack upon his person. On March 26-27, Stefan was assaulted in his hotel and his personal belongings were taken from him. As a direct result of the assault upon him and while in an unconscious state, Stefan assaulted a guest staying in the next-door room from his.

While Stefan (and his family members, colleagues and friends) nevertheless extends his sincere best wishes for a speedy recovery to this hotel guest, we are able to update the following:

This unfathomable and, entirely out-of-character, incident and Stefan’s arrest stemmed directly from Stefan himself being the victim of a crime upon him. We have identified the person who stole items from Stefan and are working to develop what else was done, including involuntarily drugging Stefan with powerful agents.

Investigation revealed that an as yet unknown person left Stefan’s hotel room with his Ipad, wallet, including cash, credit cards and identification and began using Stefan’s credit cards around New York City, successfully and unsuccessfully, on items that Stefan would unquestionably never have sought to purchase. We have obtained a photo of this person and are working with the police to identify and locate the perpetrator of this horrendous crime.

Unquestionably, Stefan was the victim of a crime and he has no present memory of the events leading up to his arrest. However, we are hopeful that in the coming weeks we will determine the perpetrator of this offense against Stefan and consequently, the other hotel guest.

In light of identifying conclusively that others were involved in doing harm to Stefan, counsel is now working on the possibility of obtaining permission for Stefan to travel internationally and resume his duties with the LSQ. Stefan is exploring all options to expeditiously resolve these false charges, from offering the results of his investigation to the prosecutors to offering to undergo a lie detector examination. We have been offered the support of so many of Stefan’s friends and professional colleagues and we hope to use those recommendations in some capacity on Stefan’s behalf. Stefan welcomes all offers of assistance during this troubling period and thanks his colleagues, his family, his friends and his fans. This is an evolving story and we learn more about this ordeal as each day passes. However long this process takes, we’re confident that a the end of the day, Stefan will be found to be not guilty of these serious charges.

Nicholas Kaizer
Levitt & Kaizer Attorneys at Law
New York, NY
212 480-4000


  • Walter says:

    This story certainly sounds like another ‘made in the USA’ case. Arrests, detentions, assaults, confinement, being assaulted yourself after being involuntarily drugged by “powerful agents”, etc., etc.

    More and more individuals that I know come back from that country telling similar horror stories, of being drugged in clubs, being robbed, being assaulted, being wrongly accused, arrested or interrogated by the police, having tasters pointed at them at routine traffic stops, of having their luggage opened and items stolen in their hotel rooms, or at the airport by official inspectors, of being groped and fondled by perverse airport security personnel and other such things. We now see, nearly daily how the police over there shot and kill unarmed citizens with impunity. There clearly is a problem over there and it only seems to get worse and worse. We may have problems here in Europe, but there is still some sense of security, freedom and democracy.

    • Greg Hlatky says:

      Well then, don’t come here. This poor nation will somehow stagger along without Europeans – fresh from their own irreversibly decaying backwater of a continent – visiting to lecture us on what’s wrong with the US based what the Guardian tells them or on the cartoonish memes they read on Facebook.

      Curious indeed that the very same people who scream that the slaughters, stonings, oppressions, child rape and bombings are not representative of Islam will take a single incident in New York City and project it onto a nation of 315 million people. Then again, little better can be expected from Americophobic bigots and haters.

      • Roger Adams says:

        You need to calm down! It would appear that you are on an American diet of junk food and lots of hormone treated, artificially coloured American beef. It is known to make the population over there so violent and aggressive. Try a healthier diet and you might not only calm down, become more open minded and realise that what the guy wrote is actually based on facts and news that doesn’t only appear in The Guardian, but even in your own censored press. Cheers mate!

  • MWnyc says:

    I sure hope, for Stefan Arzberger’s sake, that someone drew blood from him for testing at the time he was arrested.

  • Rita says:

    I had a very unpleasant experience in ‘The Land of the Free’ last September. I was visiting a musician friend in Atlanta and was stopped on the road by the police to “check the car’s registration”. The police officer very roughly and very rudely demanded my driving licence. I presented my international driving licence, which I have used and shown from Australia to Canada, without a problem. He told me that my licence was not valid in Georgia and that he “never saw one of these things ever before”. I tried to explain that it is valid all over the world. He shouted at me and said, “you speak when I ask you a question!” I then said that there was no need to speak to me like that. He then pulled out a taser and told me to get out of the car and lie face down on the road, with my hands behind my back or he would, as he said, “tase me” with 50,000 volts of electricity if I didn’t do as I was told. I felt the fear of my life, got heart palpitations and lied face down in the road. He called for another officer, who arrived about ten minutes later. That police officer had a look at my international licence and told the other one that it was legal and that there was no problem. The other officer, without any apology, told me to get back in the car and that I could leave. Nothing more said. No excuses, NOTHING! After I had been lying prostrate in the middle of a dirty road for at least fifteen minutes. Needless to say I will never return to that country. All of the recent stories of the police murdering innocent people only confirm my fears, my own experience and my opinion of their brutality and lawlessness.

  • Joel Stein says:

    I grew up in NYC, live in Boston and travel all around the country. mostly New York and LA. I know no one who has been shot (by the police or otherwise) no one who has groped etc by airport personnel and no one who has run naked through a hotel.

    • Elodie Egan says:

      Apparently you don’t watch nor read the news. In the past months there have been at least ten cases of outrageous police brutality in the United States, with innocent, unarmed people being murdered at their hands, including a twelve year old child playing in a park in Cleveland. As you say that you “grew up in NYC”. Certainly your memory is not so short and selective that you don’t remember the recent nationwide protests against the deaths of unarmed people, one in Ferguson, Missouri, the other in Brooklyn, where the guy was choked to death by a group of policemen. His crime? Selling a cigarette on the street.

      Americans live in denial of their dystopia, much like the Soviets did in their time. It may be a form of cognitive dissonance, in order for them to cope and survive the violence and brutality of their system.

      • Alistair Crane says:

        He said he doesn’t know anyone that has been shot not that he doesn’t know of anyone who has been. I live in New York as well. There is absolutely ZERO crime in my neighborhood. People just go to the wrong places and stay in the wrong places.

        • Tom Hartley says:

          Or they commit the crime of being too poor to live anywhere else but “the wrong places” — a crime that sometimes carries a death penalty.

      • Kathleen McCarthy says:

        What piffle!

    • Steve says:

      Saying, “I know no one who has been shot (by the police or otherwise) no one who has been groped etc…” does not mean that such things aren’t happening in your country! May I assume that you also don’t know any poor people, any unemployed people, any HIV+ people, etc. Does that mean that there is no poverty in the U.S.A., no unemployment there, no HIV? I think that you reply reflects more your own narcissistic state of being, sadly a very prevalent behavioural attitude in the U.S.A.

  • Christy says:

    In my travels to roughly 15 countries in North America, Europe and Africa, I have been the victim of two crimes – I was the victim of a minor assault in Hungary, and I had my wallet stolen in two others – Russia and the UK. (Notably, I have stayed in London more than 10 times, roughly, and have had a problem only once.)

    I have stayed in several Burroughs of NY, including Manhattan’s Times Square many, many times. I’ve been in half of all US states. I’ve never experienced any of the things alleged above.

  • william osborne says:

    I began to pay closer attention to drug rape a few years ago after a member of the brass section of a major American orchestra alleged that she had been drug raped by one of her colleagues. The only other woman in the section stood in solidarity with her and both were fired. Both women were in their trial years, so dismissing them was not difficult.

    In a major scholarly study completed in 1987, Mary P. Koss, Christine A. Gidycz, and Nadine Wisniewski found that 26% of college students had been raped or experienced other forms of sexual aggression. They found that forty-two percent of women who are date raped tell don’t any one at all about it. 74% of the perpetrators and 55% of the victims of rape within a nationally representative sample of college students had been drinking alcohol. The study can be read here:

    It is difficult to collect evidence when people are drugged. One needs a blood test shortly after the event, which most of the disoriented victims neglect to do.

    Crimes rates are far higher in NYC than in Europe. Naïve Europeans are often victims. In July 1980, Helen Hagnes Muntiks, a violinist in an orchestra performing with the Berlin Ballet at the Metropolitan Opera House, was murdered by a stage hand. Her naked and gagged body was found the next day thrown down an air shaft.

  • Luk says:

    I don’t understand all these comments that try to infer a general conclusion from one particular case.

    First of all, the fact that “never happened to me or to people I know” doesn’t mean anything. You may have been lucky or the person here may have been especially unlucky.

    Second, accusations to US police or even more in general to “US way of doing things” are quite inappropriate. There is no evidence of police mistreatment of the person, and it’s just normal that cautions are taken (he -did- assault a person and -was- in evident state of drug use).

    Personal view:
    I believe it was the victim of some crime and that his behavior was dictated by some drug that he took unknowingly.
    I also think there is some unclear take on the story. I found a sentence of the statement very curious: “[the culprit did other things including] involuntarily drugging Stefan with powerful agents.” Why “involuntarily”? That’s an interesting word in a statement which has the purpose of defending Arzberger’s position. Does it mean that Arzsberger put himself in a situation that degenerated? I don’t know so I won’t comment further until we’ll know something more.
    I also hope, of course, nothing more traumatic (as rape, which is something that comes to mind judging from the description of the events) happened to him, and wish him a speedy recovery and that he’ll manage to clear his position as rapidly.

    But lest not forget that we are speaking about a particular case, no need to make it bigger than it is.

  • John Borstlap says:

    It seems that the notion of ‘freedom’ is, by lots of people in the US, interpreted in a peculiar way.

    About being robbed: in Latin-America thieves can be quite cultured. A well-known British composer told me once about a big orchestral piece he had been working on for more than a year, the score and many sketches of which he had put in a separate suitcase on his way to his holiday destination where he had planned to finish the thing under the sun and palms. Unfortunately on arrival the suitcase was immediately stolen in his hotel and never found again. He had to start all over again.

  • Kathleen McCarthy says:

    Nicholas Kaizer’s statement here is non-sensical in so many ways. I hope, for Mr. Arzberger’s sake, he can do better in a courtroom. 9826

  • Greg Hlatky says:

    Mr. Kaizer is doing only what a defense lawyer should do, standing up for his client.

    But there are a whole lot of moving parts in Mr. Arzberger’s story. If you hear hoof beats, they’re more likely to be from horses than zebras. Police run across people all the time who do “unfathomable, entirely out-of-character” things with explanations more plausible than this one.

    So, Mr. Arzberger will have his day in court. Since the real perpetrators, according to Mr. Kaizer, have been identified, he can not only cast reasonable doubt on these charges but also prove his innocence.

    • Kathleen McCarthy says:

      The perpetrator has NOT been identified. This is where this gets slippery

      “We have identified the person who stole items from Stefan………”
      OK. Then…
      “Investigation revealed that an as yet unknown person left Stefan’s hotel room with his iPad……”
      We have obtained a photo of this person and are working with the police to identify and locate the perpetrator……..

      Was the perpetrator identified or not? Maybe his lawyer can clarify.

      And that’s just the beginning