The conductor Charles Dutoit is consulting with lawyers and has vowed to clear his name after recent allegations of sexual assault.
Without prejudice to his course of action, and without making further accusations of sexual violence, Slipped Disc has received several reactions from female musicians, reporting the discomfort they experienced in Dutoit’s presence.
The following email, which we have been permitted to publish, comes from the photographer Barbara Luisi, who is married to the international conductor Fabio Luisi:
Concerning the latest news about Dutoit…. I was for a long time thinking about my own experience with him, I told the story to Fabio already many years ago…
As a young violinist at Bamberg Symphony (I was 23 or 24… so 1988/89) I was sitting on stage before the concert rehearsal studying my part… Only a few musicians were there, when I suddenly felt a hand softly touch my back upwards to the neck on my bare skin and rest there…hearing Mr. Dutoit quietly talk to me at the same time. It was him. I froze completely. At this moment Mr Walter Forchert, our concertmaster and my friend and teacher entered the scene, saw this and said with a strange smile and a very decisive language: in this orchestra the women are not to be touched.
I immediately left and tried to wash the uncomfortable feeling off.
As an artist and a conductor’s wife I felt I just would keep it to myself. Now it seems only logical to me, that there must have been other cases much more interesting ones…