Leading Canadian conductor is accused of abusing his niece

Leading Canadian conductor is accused of abusing his niece


norman lebrecht

October 30, 2017

One of the icons of French-Canadian music has been toppled this weekend by claims by his niece and other family members that he abused them sexually when they were very young.

The niece, Sophie Bernier, discloses in an interview with Le Soleil that Françoys Bernier, chief conductor of the Quebec Symphony Orchestra and founder of the Domaine Forget academy, invaded her bed and abused her from the time she was fourteen years old. A cousin corroborates her account of his conduct. Her mother, too, admitted that her brother groped her as a young girl.

«Écoute, c’était Françoys Bernier, le grand Françoys Bernier. Il était en train de construire le Domaine Forget, c’était son moment de gloire, tout le monde était subjugué par lui. Il était un Dieu. Et c’était un milieu extrêmement fermé.»

Bernier died in 1993, aged 65.

Here’s the story in Le Soleil. And a followup in Ludwig Van Montreal.

Shocking even among the present torrent of sexual harassment.



  • Doug says:

    A sociopathic conductor? I’m shocked, SHOCKED!

  • Una says:

    Sounds everyone is abuser of some sort! And this guy’s been dead for years. He may have done an awful lot of wrong, and no one condones that, but when people are dead for years I find it very hard to condone the whole thing of digging up muck when they are not even around to speak for themselves.

    • Mike Schachter says:

      I rather agree. Who benefits from these revelations about a man dead for 20 years?

      • Anonymous says:

        Perhaps the victims? But who cares about them, huh?

        • fierywoman says:

          “Die Wahrheit. Die Wahrheit…”

          • La Verita says:

            Agreed! Besides giving his many other silent victims the courage to come forward, it’s never too late to expose such creeps. Even in America, they are finally acknowledging that the venerated Christopher Columbus was in fact a marauder and murderer, and that their founding hero’s George Washington & Thomas Jefferson were slave owners.

    • Thomasina says:

      It’s very important for his victims who are still suffering and it encourages women and men who are suffering now to appeal the perpetrators whatever their social status.

    • Vienna calling says:

      Quite right, the Jimmy Savile victims should also have kept quiet. Terribly ungrateful brats, those kids he built his lovely hospitals for.

      • Thomasina says:

        Why must the victims keep silence for hypocrites?? Do you know that it’s exactly what the perpetrator says?

  • Robert Holmén says:

    Is he really a “leading” conductor when he’s been dead for 24 years, or is the music scene in Canada that dead?

  • John Borstlap says:

    I have been harrassed many times in my life, but never ever sexually. But that may have had something to do with my figure and pronounciation.


    • jaypee2 says:

      Once again, our egomaniac troll makes it about himself.
      Obviously, as a professional troll, he can’t help it…

  • Cyril Blair says:

    How sad that the girl’s mother, having been abused by him herself, could not protect her daughter. Why not? Seems like a mother would do everything in her power to prevent that from happening.