Breaking: Charles Dutoit is accused of rape

Breaking: Charles Dutoit is accused of rape


norman lebrecht

January 11, 2018

The Associated Press has been working with six women who came forward with sexual allegations against the Swiss conductor Charles Dutoit.

One of them says he raped her.

The musician accusing Dutoit of rape was then 28 and auditioning for an orchestra in early 1988 while he was guest-conducting. She said they were staying at the same hotel and rode the elevator together up to their shared floor one night….

He invited her to come in when she brought it to his room, she said, first offering her a drink, which she declined. Within minutes, he forced himself on her, she said.

“He came closer to me and tried to kiss me, and held my head so strongly it ripped my earring out,” said the musician, now in her 50s. “He pinned my wrists to the wall and pushed me to the bed.”

“His pants were down in a split second and he was inside me before I could blink,” she said. She said she started crying, told him to stop and that she was married, but that it made no difference.


  • Rgiarola says:

    Why no denoucements to the court? At least one?

  • Tommy says:

    Oouuch… the worst report so far? Painful to read!

    He shouldn’t get away with this and the best would be to have it brought to justice. But I guess it’s too late. But the picture of Dutoit is heavily dirty and for Dutoits own sake he should confess and make some apologies. But that want happen either.

    And it is one of my favourites among recording conductors…

  • harold braun says:

    Come on…it gets more unbelievable and ludicrous by each day….

    • nimitta says:

      I’d say the opposite: it grows ever more credible and ludicrous for Dutoit to deny.

      • Andy says:

        How can anyone really claim to know either way. Let’s be honest, if you weren’t there and you don’t know him, you (we) have literally no idea whether these things are true or not. Surely we can be honest about that.

        • harold braun says:

          Anonymous,30 years later,out of fear of career being harmed.Did anyone,except Mrs.McNair,and,to some extent,Mrs.Rasmussen,enjoy a career despite not going to the police??????

          • Andy says:

            That’s your reasoning for believing what you believe. But my point still stands, the reality is that we have no idea whether these allegations are true or not.

        • harold braun says:

          I agree with you.Innocent till proven guilty.

    • MacroV says:

      No, your denials become more ludicrous by the day. People have their reasons for not coming forward shortly after the incident, but what is the point of coming forward NOW with a false allegation?

      • harold braun says:

        Getting attention,and….it´s a psychological phenomenon.It´s not the first time people falsely claim to be victims,of rape,child abuse,political and ethnical persecution….There´s a name for this among psychologists,i don´t remember.Read an article about this many years ago.

        • The View from America says:

          Well, why don’t you do the research and come back and give us a report? It might educate some of the commenters here.

    • Cyril Blair says:

      Harold Braun is the one person on earth who finds that the more evidence comes out in support of something, the less likely it is to be true.

      • harold braun says:

        Evidence?Accusations,yes.Evidence is something entirely else,in Terms of law.

        • Cyril Blair says:

          Testimony is evidence, in a court of law. These accusers’ accounts of what they say happened to them are the equivalent of testimony. Therefore, evidence.

          • Orchestral Musician says:

            There has been no “testimony” in a “court of law”.
            I despise the man, but until he is found guilty, he is innocent.

    • crow23 says:


      thanks for your opinion, dude

  • Sue says:

    This must go to the courts, without delay. ‘Put up or shut up’, as the old saying goes.

    • Malcolm James says:

      The latest allegation is indeed very serious, but how can you get a fair trial 30 years on? Memories fade and become unreliable, witnesses die and documentary evidence no longer exists.

      • MacroV says:

        You can’t, and he won’t be tried for that very reason (and probably statute of limitations). But it does lend credence to the allegations of the others.

  • Tribonian says:

    None of us can possibly know whether he is guilty or not. We were not there. Any apparent lack of action on his part, other than his denial, proves nothing either way. Lawyers get a bad press, often justifiably, but one thing which any client in Mr Dutoit’s position should be told is that any kind of litigation on his part will cost a fortune, take years, and even if he wins, there will be a substantial number of people who assume that anyone accused of sexual impropriety must be guilty. He is 81. Who knows what his health is like. There are potentially any number of reasons for apparent inactivity on his part.

    There are all manner of reasons why uncorroborated allegations made decades after the alleged event, by individuals who stand to make substantial financial or personal gain (eg an explanation for a career which failed to take off) need to be treated with caution. Memory is inexact and unreliable. Equally, the facts that an individual has had a disappointing career and remained silent for decades are not inherently inconsistent with allegations of sexual abuse, and might even point to a causal link.

    It is deeply saddening that “innocent until proven guilty” seems to apply so selectively and inconsistently.

  • James says:

    The comments here are positively shocking and sadly they always seem to be so on Slipped Disc. This man has now been accused by over 10 women of assault, with credible and sourced allegations. Do you think they all got together one day a few weeks ago on Whatsapp and decided to concoct a story? How delusional are you people? The classical music community knew about Dutoit’s behavior. It is our shame that nothing was done to stop him. Hopefully this will lead to more disclosures and more safety and security for the women of our field.

    • harold braun says:

      Credible,sourced????Innocent,till proven guilty!We don´t live in Communist Russia,nor in Dreyfus´France or Castro´s Cuba!

      • MacroV says:

        Women with names, dates, places. Who don’t know each other and have no reason to make this up. It’s ludicrous to compare this to the USSR, France or Cuba.

        • harold braun says:

          Just read this newest allegation carefully…Dutoit,a conductor,who hasn´t touched an instrument for decades(also he studied some)asks(in a hotel) the alleged victim to help him out with a tool to fix instruments.What?????Does he,like Inspector Clouseau,secretely practice in hotel rooms???Am i the only one to notice this weird story spinning?
          Sounds like one of those ridiculous 70s TV thriller scripts dealing with conductors written by authors without classical music background.Give me a break…but this stretches my gullybility a bit far….As for Mrs.Chai,ask some former Curtis students…

  • Bruce says:

    Interesting that he resigned from the RPO just before this came out.

    • MWnyc says:

      He resigned after what the RPO called an “emergency” board meeting. I wondered why they’d be calling an emergency meeting now when the accusations came out weeks ago.

      This sentence from the AP story would explain why:

      “Hours after the AP sent Dutoit and the Royal Philharmonic detailed summaries of the new allegations, the orchestra announced Wednesday that he was leaving those posts.”

  • Sharon Long says:

    i have been reading all the time that rumors about Levine had been around for decades. Was that also true about Dutoit?

  • Orchestral Musician says:

    The AP has been “working” with women who have accused this man of assault, and two orchestras have “launched their own investigations”, according to the linked AP article.
    Shouldn’t this be a job for the criminal justice systems in the countries where the alleged assaults occurred? I have yet to read any mention of a single formal criminal complaint.

    • harold braun says:

      Exactly my point.

    • Saxon Broken says:

      This line of reasoning is bizarre. A firm can fire you after a disciplinary process, and that disciplinary process does not rely on a conviction in the criminal courts to uphold a complaint.

      And how come the women aren’t “innocent until proven guilty”? But instead they are flatly disbelieved and accused of being liars?

  • Mark Henriksen says:

    Its total BS to blame the institutions. Where there is smoke, there is fire, sure. But the victims chose not to report what happened out of self interest.

  • Anon says:

    So, from her own statement, the woman-victim was married and voluntarily went with Mr. Dutoit to his hotel room at night. Have I read this correctly? Obviously Mr. Dutoit conjured from her actions, that she wanted sex with him? Which doesn‘t in any way allow him to rape her, but it seems hard to say, which red lines exactly were crossed at which point. But why did she go to his room with him? She wanted it, just not like this. Is what I speculate from this.

    • Naxos says:

      You’d better read the original article. Dutoit tricked this woman by telling her that his luggage had been broken and needed a tool that she might have to fix instruments. This story is by far the worst among all accusations.

      I find these stories credible because (1) almost all accusations are corroborated by family members and friends who heard the stories right away (2) Philadelphia management officially acknowledged his behaviors to be the cause of why he had been passed for the music director position (3) he pattern is too similar.

      I thought earlier accusations were bad but not as bad as Levine’s. If he came out clean then, I thought he could come back after a year or so. I don’t think so any more.

    • nimitta says:

      ANON: “Have I read this correctly?“

      No, you haven’t. Read the original story, linked above, and you’ll find that Maestro Dutoit is alleged to have tricked the woman into coming to his hotel room by lying that his luggage was broken and asking her to bring over a tool used to fix musical instruments. When she arrived, he asked her in, and then jumped her. Her description of his attack is quite consistent with other allegations, not unlike the Bill Cosby case, and strongly suggests these kinds of attacks were the maestro’s MO.

      • Anon says:

        I stand corrected, thank you. I got the impression after reading this blog post. After reading the original article it‘s a different story.
        Hard to understand, why that man could go on with his stick for almost 30 more years, when so many knew. What does it say about all of us?

        • The Voice from America says:

          It says that human nature is human nature.

        • Bruce says:

          Really, it’s best to read the full articles if NL links to them. Quoting a sentence out of context often makes it look like something is being said that isn’t, or like it’s the main point when it’s not. And then sometimes things are just not accurate (e.g. the singer who’s losing roles — present tense — because she’s fat, when in fact she’s talking about something that used to happen years ago).

      • harold braun says:

        Does Dutoit fix instruments????Am i the only one who starts chuckling at this point?He hasn´t played an instrument for decades,let alone in a hotel room.Oh boy…..

  • nimitta says:

    James’ comment above bears repeating: the classical music world knew all about Dutoit, just as Hollywood knew all about Harvey Weinstein. This is not to say that everyone knew, merely that many people did: musicians, management, and staff.

    To imply without any evidence whatsoever that all 10 allegations have been made by bitter or greedy women is disturbing.They too should be accorded a presumption of innocence.

    • The Voice from America says:

      … but not if you live in the bubble that is the classical music industry.

    • harold braun says:

      He should too accorded a presumption of innocence.Justice goes for all,as well as our law system.

      • MacroV says:

        Presumption of innocence applies to the criminal justice system. Nobody is proposing to prosecute him.

        An orchestra is well within its rights to not contract with someone for any reason whatsoever. Being difficult or likely to cause reputational harm is quite sufficient. As is “a preponderence of evidence.”

  • Elvira says:

    Why the lady did not use the tool to open the luggage to close the zipper

    • nimitta says:

      Why the lady did not use the brain to close the laptop to refrain from dumb comment

      • harold braun says:

        Does Dutoit fix instruments,did he even play one at this point of his career?Sounds like one of those silly 70s TV series cliches about conductors.Smells like big BS!

  • Been Here Before says:

    This is sickening. But why did she keep quiet for almost 30 years? Rape is a very serious crime and she is not doing any service to justice by coming forward now. Why did they all keep quiet for so long?

    • Tristan Jakob-Hoff says:

      There are all sorts of reasons for not reporting a rape or sexual assault, chief amongst them being the extremely low conviction rates. Meanwhile, society makes it very difficult to come forward: victims are (still) routinely blamed for dressing provocatively or otherwise leading their attackers on – and the perpetrators are often men of influence in the victim’s life, be it a spouse upon whom they are dependent or a senior colleague on whose good opinion their career relies.

      Bear in mind that one of the core tenets of the criminal justice system is that a defendant is innocent until proven guilty. What that means for a rape victim in real terms is that they are presumed by the justice system to be lying about what happened to them until and unless a jury convicts their attacker, which in the UK is just 5.7% of the time. That means 18 or 19 women must go through this ordeal of disbelief and humiliation before one woman gets justice for what happened to her. And that’s in 2018. Things were worse still 30 years ago.

  • Michael says:

    “I need a woman after a concert”. Just like Johnny Halliday who apparently needed 2, with the (big) difference that it was consensual.
    The classical music industry is in serious trouble now. Did it feed monsters?
    I wonder what happened in Verbier Festival where the youth orchestra was conducted first by Levine, followed by Dutoit, for many years…
    We should be prepared to read terrible stories.

  • Ben says:

    Not to dump TNT onto this, nor being disrespectful to women, but I don’t know if I would trust the media unconditionally.

    Nowadays, the #MeToo movement has come to a point where some people would just keep sand bagging a man till he cannot stand upright anymore, even if it means something has to be invented/exaggerated along the way.

    “He’s still standing, let’s keep throwing stones till he fall!!!!”

    Even with no police report, no legal brief, nothing to provide a shred of evidence in the court of law, I still feel some of those (initial) reports definitely have some or full merit. But the subsequent “delayed” accusations that are being piled on top? I don’t know….

    Something still escapes me. If a woman was raped and she didn’t care to call police, then either her parents were not doing their job, or her pride (and career, as implied in most of those accusations) was/were considered way more important than integrity and principle at that time.

    I hope those sex offenders are brought to justice.

    • nimitta says:

      BEN: “Something still escapes me. If a woman was raped and she didn’t care to call police, then either her parents were not doing their job, or her pride (and career, as implied in most of those accusations) was/were considered way more important than integrity and principle at that time.”

      Something still escapes you, indeed: those aren’t the only two reasons. For at least a few more, read the comments on this page – as elsewhere, here the accusers become the accused. Many above have assumed them to be fabricating their allegations for money, fame, or romantic revenge. Many, like you, find grounds for doubt in their hesitancy to go public.

      The truth is that many female victims of sexual harrassment and assault know all too well they’ll face a barrage of criticism, skepticism, or even character assassination. Most victims also irrationally feel ashamed to some degree, even though blameless – for example, the accuser in this story might well feel embarrassed that she fell for Dutoit’s ruse and brought the tool to his room to fix his luggage. As it is, she pointed out to friends at the time that she was also afraid to come forward because it would seriously harm her career.

      Look above, BEN, and you’ll see at least one example of all the compelling reasons female and male victims hesitate to come forward. Remember: they can read, too, just like us!

  • Valerie Kraemer says:

    please clarify what she brought to his room
    “He invited her to come in when she brought it to his room”

    • Valerie Kraemer says:

      please delete my previous question, found the link in the article with the answer. thanks
      the conductor had been drinking overmuch, perhaps?

  • No One Who Matters says:

    Wow. Just reading this now. From the looks of it, there are a lot of people here likely very happy Kavanaugh made it onto the SCOTUS. Honestly, it’s just depressing how these things just keep repeating themselves with what seems to be very little progress.