#Metoo: Leading musicologist is accused of rape

#Metoo: Leading musicologist is accused of rape


norman lebrecht

December 14, 2017

The renowned American Berlioz scholar D Kern Holoman has been stripped of his titles by the University of California, Davis, after a university administrator came forward to accuse him of rape.

Danny Gray, director of academic employment and labor relations at UCD, alleges that Holoman molested and subsequently raped him while he was a student at the university in 1987. The abuse persisted for five years.

He maintains the matter was ‘badly mishandled’ by the university when he reported it at the time. At the time of the alleged assaults, Holoman was married and had children.

Holoman, in a statement sent by his lawyer to Gray, said: ‘Our memories of that time differ markedly, but the remorse is very real. I continue to treasure memories of our long friendship and its focus on the beauties of art, literature and history.’

Reports here and here. 

The case is unusual inasmuch as the accuser has been a colleague of the accused for quarter of a century.

Holoman, who is 70, retired from the university in 2013 with the title emeritus, which he has now relinquished. He was formerly Distinguished Professor of Music and Conductor of the UC Davis Symphony Orchestra.

One of the founders of the academic journal 19th-Century Music in 1977, Holoman compiled the complete catalogue of the works of Hector Berlioz and wrote a 687-page biography of the composer. He also edited the critical edition of Roméo et Juliette, published by Bärenreiter in 1990. He is also the biographer of the conductor Charles Munch.


Here he offers advice on how to be a musicologist and conductor:


  • John Borstlap says:

    The Indecency Tchernobyl will provide its fall-out for quite some time to come.

  • Name says:

    It happened 30 years ago and only now we hear about it?

    • John Borstlap says:

      The sound of assault travels on less than light speed, as it is hindered by thick walls of prejudice.

    • Michael Alfera says:

      Yes, and the fact that you would doubt an accuser merely because he took 30 years to report the abuse is part of the problem. It is comments like this that are part of why we are only now seeing a flood of accusations by people who until recently were too afraid no one would take them seriously.

      Put yourself in Mr. Gray’s shoes. A young grad student with aspirations of a long and successful career in academics. Your graduate advisor, one of the greats in the field, rapes you. Your rapist holds the key to all the letters of recommendation and phone calls you need to secure a successful career. And if you accuse your rapist, all your career aspirations go up in smoke.

      Tell me you *wouldn’t* keep it a secret if you were Mr. Gray.

      • Hudson Valley School says:

        OK. The aggrieved can take up the matter with the university administrators. But to announce it to all the world on your blog?? Excuse me, but we are now in an age of extreme self-promotion and self-indulgence.

        By the way, aren’t these what are legal called “allegations”? We need to ALL be “Juror no. 8” (“Twelve Angry Men”), the only one who stood up and said “let’s hear and review all the evidence from both sides first before we come to a decision.”

        I would never say I don’t believe someone who makes an allegation. But one who announces an allegation to the world first, before formally lodging a complaint, well, to me that arouses suspicions that one is being an opportunist.

        We are headed down a scary path, folks, reporting on our neighbors. Once someone is called a witch and the charge echoes throughout the chambers of social media, it’s pretty hard to take that back. Seems in this country the “witch” just changes shape. Our new instant and unedited media encourages this feeding frenzy, and it is detrimental to the health of our society.

        • Bratsche says:

          Irony; calling out an alleged rape victim finally able to reveal the horrors that occurred to them decades ago as “self-promotion and self-indulgence” with a four-paragraph rant that clearly wasn’t spell-checked and just rambles on.

          This is not “1984;” this is people finally being held accountable. That you demonstrate a failure to comprehend the variables and complexities of such a situation as a rape is damning not to your intended target, but rather to yourself.

          Of the alleged victims that come forward – what percentage have their careers made by such an action? The “opportunist” argument was lost decades ago; why do you intend to revive it?

  • S says:

    After allegedly being raped, why would one continue having a relationship with a rapist?

  • Steve says:

    I’m not certain which is worst: The pervs in politics or the pervs in the classical music scene. What a world, what a world!

  • Steve says:

    Sorry…which is worse.