Charles Dutoit is stripped of another award

Charles Dutoit is stripped of another award


norman lebrecht

March 04, 2018

In the small print of the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s condemnation of Dutoit’s sexual harassment of a temporary staff member, the orchestra has clawed back the Koussevitsky Award it gave to Dutoit just two years ago.

The BSO maintains that it knew nothing of allegations against Dutoit before Slipped Disc published Fiona Allan’s account. Ms Allan, however, reported her distress to a BSO executive at the time. That contradiction remains unresolved in the independent investigator’s report.

The executive concerned retired from the BSO in the past two years.




  • Jane Brown says:

    Mark Volpe of the Boston Symphony Orchestra said he never received any complaints regarding Charles Dutoit. Ms Allan said the opposite. So who is lying?
    Before destroying someone’s career over unproven allegations, maybe one should find out the truth. Knowing the Tanglewood site, with the conductor’s room attached to the soloist’s, next to the stage manager office and in front of the backstage area where 100 musicians enter the stage, the “allegation” seems quite dubious.
    It is revolting that the BSO, who has maintained a very profitable relationship with Charles Dutoit for over 35 years, who thanked him overwhelmingly for saving their Asian trip in 2014 when Maazel canceled at the last minute due to health reasons, would turn around so quickly and dismiss him brutally over unverified, unproven, 30 year-old allegations that have no legal basis. Obviously, they are trying to save their arse over the issue of their former music director, James Levine. Maybe one should pay closer attention to this. Or better yet, stop all these celebrations of Bernstein who did his share of sexual harassment. What hypocritical society America has become…..

    • Hilary says:

      ” Or better yet, stop all these celebrations of Bernstein who did his share of sexual harassment. What hypocritical society ”
      There’s a difference between sexual harassment and having a rapacious sexual appetite. No damning revelations have surfaced, even on SD, unless I’ve missed something.

    • Anon says:

      Are the Bernstein allegations you made any different than the ones against Dutoit or Levine, other than the fact that Bernstein is dead? Just asking.

    • Cubs Fan says:

      We’ve always been hypocritical. If you’re rich and famous enough you can get away with anything. Look at Michael Jackson. We all “knew” he was diddling young boys and he paid off the families. And we still celebrate and glorify him. Pro sports has had its share of problems conveniently swept under the rug. And then you can get elected mayor of a large California city! But if you’re an average working person and you step over the line – jail time for you!

      • violafan says:

        Actually Michael Jackson was cleared of those allegations.

        Cory Feldman has famously come out against sexual predators in Hollywood and said Michael Jackson is actually NOT a predator.

        Fuck Dutoit.

    • anon says:

      yeah, it’s as if the orchestra knows something we don’t.

  • John Rook says:

    Will he get these awards back if he’s exonerated?

  • Mark says:

    I am not even going to repeat the simple fact that no allegation against Dutoit (or Levine) has been proven before an impartial adjudicator.
    Instead, I would just like to ask – was the Koussevitzki award given to Maestro Dutoit for his achievements in the field of music or for his contribution to the peace and respect between the sexes ? If it was the former rather than the latter, why on earth would you rescind the award ?
    Will the Nobel committee withdraw the 1920 Nobel prize of Knut Hamsun, who was later an ardent supporter of Hitler, or the 1965 prize of Mikhail Sholokhov, a rabid Communist (who probably stole his most famous novel) ?

    • Lady Weidenfeld says:

      Well said Jane Brown and Mark – I could not agree more and it above all diminishes the stature of the Award itself if it can so easily be revoked for an unproven allegation. I wonder what the great Koussevitsky would have to say about a colleague being treated in such a fashion?

  • Luigi Nonono says:

    And the beat-down continues. Incredible. Gossip remains gossip, whether credible or not. And if he is acquitted, if legal action is ever taken, are they prepared to reinstate his honors? And how will they apologize for their unprofessional, inexcusable treatment of him? I never liked his conducting, but that’s no excuse. And not one mention of his marijuana habit? If he was intoxicated, does that not make a difference? It’s all too dubious. And blacklisting should be outlawed. Women, in my personal experience, are extremely quick to use, and adept at using blacklisting, backstabbing for petty revenge on someone they dislike. I have had no less than three women blacklist me and ruin my career. Only one man ever did, and he is, thankfully, dead.

    • M. Renard says:

      Really, you’re gonna blame “women” for male sexual abusers?

      Oh right, classical music world. One of the most deeply misogynistic and sexist subcultures in of the arts. Effete dissipated men huffing away over the unfairness of these birches ruining the careers of great artists. Lol.

  • Luigi Nonono says:

    No, wait, if you include lying and trashing my reputation, it is much more than three women.

  • Theresa Schulz says:

    Interesting. Did not know that conductors receive awards for their exemplary moral conduct…

  • Roscoe says:

    Disgusting people should be stripped of all awards as it taints the meaning of the award. Many of you calling for ” proper justice” when you already know that having the proof ( with what? Pictures? Audio?) is not available and, is your reason for not accepting what the many have experienced and suffered already. You will probably still not accept it even if it was proven in a court of law.
    I hear people say that “Szel or Reiner was tough on musicians BUT, the orchestra is ” great” because of him.” Have you spoken to the musicians that suffered, quit, died of anguish, or suicide because of them? I have! We speak of “these” conductors as great and musicians as lazy, non productive bums that need discipline. What a crock of garbage! These monsters that infest the music world have been know in music circles for years. All you sophisticated audiophiles are obviously jarred to hear that your music heroes are perverts. Time to get over it, baby.

    • Mark says:

      I think people have always known that Szell and Reiner were extremely difficult and demanding people (and Reiner could be downright sadistic). But they were tremendous musicians, nonetheless

      • Roscoe says:

        Correct Mark and you missed the point. That’s the excuse. “They were tremendous musicians…” and thus all is forgiven? No! They were jerks or whatever expletive you want to insert. That does not demand any respect.

        • Mark says:

          If we only accept the artists who are also perfect human beings, we’ll have about 20% of our culture left (if we are lucky). Great man have great flaws. Many people claimed that Chamberlain was a much more “pleasant” person than Churchill and much easier to deal with. But which one would you rather have as a leader ?

          • Roscoe says:

            Right. But the point is, one is willing to excuse all the faults of a horrible person and the terrible things they have done to people in place of their accomplisvments. You’re treading on thin ice by getting into politics.
            You want to enjoy the accomplishments, fine. (Ie. recordings, etc.) good. But to use that as contrition is downright just as perverted as their deeds.

      • M. Renard says:

        Worthless scumbags regardless of musical talent, I think you meant to say.

    • Roscoe says:

      Is that your self-description? Harold? From your former posts I you seem anti musician. However, I suspect that you are one. And where do you get so much information on Montreal? I’d like to hear more of your BS too.

  • Roscoe says:

    ..and don’t give me that crap of a “demanding” person. Musicians are highly trained, sensitive, caring and more demanding of themselves about their performance. Any “demanding” things that a conductor wants is simply elementary practice and simply attained by any well trained musician. You make it sound like it’s such a big deal. The problem is that “conductors” think they know more than musicians and don’t respect them as actually knowing “something.” They have just discovered a Brahms symphony and you as a musician have performed 30 times or more already.

  • Ben says:

    If he did the crime, shouldn’t people work on stripping his freedom away?

  • David says:

    Herman Melville was a wife-beater. Should we not read Moby Dick and Billy Budd?

  • Marc Parella says:

    The media and underground media seem to target only the biggest names in any business. Go down a level and you’ll find the real predators whose victims didn’t wait until the #metoo movement to file a complaint but instead file police reports on the night of their abuse. Where is that reporting?

    • Roscoe says:

      Really? Show me. And it’s not just the media. It’s the people that it happened to. Did you not read all the stories? These and other abusive actions are well known, especially to those who suffered directly from it. And yes, I know.

      • Marc Parella says:

        My point is that B and C level music directors who have been accused of misconduct do not get the same level of press attention even when a victim files a police report. Administrators and managers too are not investigated or reported with the same enthusiasm.

  • Zdenek C. Havlik says:

    Quod licet Jovi non licet bovi …

  • Myquay says:

    I worked with a number of Orchestras in the 80’s and it was a different time. We were just emerging from the sexual revolution no longer knowing where the lines were. I remember movies during those times like Last Tango in Paris and 9 1/2 weeks. I was a young woman and completely lost about what I wanted and what was expected of me. And I think that’s often just as true for men. But, common sense dictates that if a person (man or woman) is in a position of power or authority doesn’t want his/her reputation to be challenged (at best) or to go to prison (at worst) , one probably shouldn’t assume that it’s okay to grope whomever one choses–even if the person being groped misguidedly finds it flattering. There is no such thing as “consensual sex” for a “subordinate”, an “employee”, etc… Because in order for something to be consensual, there has to be equality. That’s the problem. We are all in the process of evolving and re-defining gender roles and acceptable behavior. Whether or not assault is involved, power is subject to abuse. In a hierarchal/patriarchal/Empirical world that is in the process of ‘declining’, its easy to call out the obvious offenders and make examples of them; but, it doesn’t get us any closer to equality, does it?