Latest: Judge orders string quartet leader to stay in New York

Latest: Judge orders string quartet leader to stay in New York


norman lebrecht

May 04, 2015

The violinist Stefan Arzberger, charged with attempted murder after an incident in a New York hotel, has failed in an appeal to have his passport returned so that he can travel again with the Leipzig Quartet. He has been ordered to return to court for a further hearing on June 18. Here’s a statement by his attorney:

‘We appeared today in court asking the judge to permit Stefan to travel internationally with his Quartet. This request was denied once again, notwithstanding the very strong evidence that he is not guilty of the charges and the undeniable fact that he, too, was the victim of a crime the evening in question.

‘We will now continue preparing our defense, which will include the forensic analysis of hair samples to identify, if possible, the drug that was likely administered to him by the person who stole his property and fraudulently used his credit and bank cards, and we will also consult with an expert in pharmotoxicology and a psychiatrist to better understand the circumstances that led to the charges. We thank the many hundreds of people who have expressed support for Stefan during this very difficult time and will keep you updated regarding developments in the case.
Any help for Stefan is welcome!

‘We look forward to a positive outcome so Stefan can put this behind him and return to what he does best – making beautiful music with his Quartet.

Richard Levitt’

leipzig quartet


  • Paul says:

    Why this fixation on “silencing” the opinions of his fellow quartet members and friends? Americans have trouble understanding that in true free societies the comments made by a spouse, colleague, friend, or bystander about an arrest or detention, or anything else, are their comments, their opinions and they are entitled to them and are free to say them to whoever they want and whenever they want and they should not be advised by people, as we see here, to silence themselves out of fear of repercussions to the person in detention. Free societies don’t operate in that way and perhaps if you would speak up more in your country, you wouldn’t be on the receiving end of such constant ridicule for a perverted, deeply unfair and unjust legal system and a population that lives in constant fear of their police and government. And you call yourselves a “free” country!

    • william osborne says:

      It is standard practice throughout the world to leave public statements during judicial proceedings to one’s lawyer. The unfortunate statement made yesterday by one of Arzberger’s colleagues is a good example of why.

    • Kathleen McCarthy says:

      Nobody knows on what this judge based his opinion and that includes you. That being said, there is no impingement of anyone’s free speech here. The quartet was free to express its opinion in the past and is free to do so in the future. Speech like any behavior, may have consequences but being hauled off to jail is never one of them.

  • Scott Fields says:

    Is “OHGLORISO” American? How can you tell?

    The reason that people on trial and people close to them are sometimes discouraged from speaking publicly has nothing to do with free speech. We’re able to say and write anything we like, even if idiotic and hurtful. This is more true than in many European countries, such as Germany, where I now live. Rather, people associated with trials are warned that public statements can undermine defense strategies. Stupid jokes can be taken as truth. Ad hoc alibis can appear to be coverup attempts. It is the defendants’ lawyers that gag their clients.

  • Malcolm Kottler says:

    You can still contribute to the legal defense fund on FundRazr.

    Here is the current amount contributed

    115% raised of €15k goal
    168 Contributors 33 Days running

    • Leonid Asininev says:

      Glad to hear he’s well above budget.
      May I suggest that the extra €2259 be used to purchase the company of a few transsexual prostitutes?

  • Morgan Smith says:

    Now there’s a civil case. The recipient of the strangulation (apparently she’s not considered a victim by the defendent) has sued Arzberger.

  • Nick says:

    I’m curious: In Germany, just how would prosecutors and judges deal with a case in which an American defendant (i) pushed his way into a 64 year old woman’s hotel room, seized her by the throat and allegedly ‘violently shook her and threw her around, bashing her head into the walls and shelves of the hotel room closet’; (and (ii) whose excuse for this behavior is that he was allegedly–surreptitiously and unwillingly–administered some unknown incapacitating substance by a transsexual prostitute? Would they return the American’s passport, give him a “get out of jail free” card, drop all charges, and allow him to be on his merry way? That seems very unlikely.