Exclusive: A Vienna Philharmonic player is suspended on #MeToo grounds

Exclusive: A Vienna Philharmonic player is suspended on #MeToo grounds


norman lebrecht

April 22, 2018

We understand that a member of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra has been sacked from his lecturer’s post at the University of Music and Performing Arts and suspended from playing in the orchestra. The man is not being named while investigations continue.

The Vienna State Opera and the Vienna Philharmonic tonight issued the following statement:

The University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna informed us about their immediate dismissal of a lecturer, a member of Vienna State Opera Orchestra and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. We immediately started looking into the case and collecting any information in relation to this message, which we received with great surprise and regret. Until the facts have been clarified, the management of the Wiener Staatsoper has consensually released the musician from his duties for the time being. The Vienna Philharmonic is sharing this measure.

COMMENTS: Please do not mention the name of any player in the Vienna Philharmonic.

UPDATE: The player has been cleared by the Vienna State Opera and the Vienna Philharmonic.


  • Anonmuso says:

    If that was the case in London, we wouldn’t have any orchestras!

    • Player says:

      This is so…

      • V.Lind says:

        Are you saying that no men are innocent of sexism, abuse, etc.? Quite an admission.

        • Tiredofitall says:

          You may have completely mis-read Players comment.

        • David Hilton says:

          ‘Are you saying that no men are innocent of sexism, abuse, etc.?’ . . No. Only that in London one hopes such men would be allowed to continue playing in their orchestras until a determination has been reached that they have actually done something wrong. Something about a tradition of British justice and fairness, perhaps.

          • Sue says:

            I was concerned about three words.. “suspended”, “sacked”, “immediately. At least he hasn’t been named publicly. Reminds me of when I was in teaching; the slightest hint of anything “inappropriate” with a student (and, believe me, students could be vicious and vindictive with teachers) often ruined lives and careers. It reminded me of the Salem Witch Hunts – which all of this current stuff does. No wonder so few men remain in the teaching profession in my country!!

          • Sue says:

            Is this about sexual harassment by a man of another man or of a woman? Judging by the #metoo tag it would suggest a female, in which case ‘welcome to the world of females in the 175y/o male-dominated Vienna Philharmonic”!!

          • Max Grimm says:

            So far, the only statement made by the University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna points to the university’s position which maintains that “respecting [a person’s] dignity and human rights is nonnegotiable” and that it had sacked a cellist from his teaching position due to “a gross abuse of his position as professor”. The Wiener Staatsoper and by extent the Wiener Philharmoniker have placed the individual in question on administrative leave (with the individual’s consent) while further investigating the facts and allegations. According to the same report, it will particularly have to be assessed if and if so, to what extent, the reasons for the cellist’s dismissal from the university are relevant to his employment status at the Wiener Staatsoper/Wiener Philharmoniker under current labour legislation.

          • I'm Politically Incorrect says:

            @Sue: “…175y/o male-dominated Vienna Philharmonic”. Oh, the horror! Best we should immediately sack all the men in the orchestra and replace them with females. In fact, let’s eliminate any musician who happens to be a white male. In today’s PC world there is no longer any rationale for choosing the best player to fill a position. No, what is important is their gender and/or skin color. You might not end up with the best orchestra, but perhaps this will get SJWs like Sue to pipe down for a moment. What a load of claptrap!

  • Sharon says:

    Institutions have to cover themselves, especially if they have anything to do with young people or anyone who is vulnerable. If there is a charge against any employee they have to suspend immediately so they can say that they did everything possible to prevent more people from potentially being hurt.

    Therefore, it is normal for schools, hospitals and other institutions to suspend first, generally with pay, while the investigation is going on. I have a friend, a nurse, who was suspended for a year at full pay without her even fully understanding the charges, until the investigation was completed and she was reinstated.

    It is to the Vienna Philharmonic’s credit that they are keeping the name of the performer a secret so that if he/she is found innocent, he/she can return to his/her position and move forward. They are trying to prevent him or her from being the victim of rumors which, even if later found to be untrue, as Sue says, can ruin one’s career forever.

    • V.Lind says:

      Agree. University teachers — in my view — have been particularly vulnerable to this sort of thing, and careers very badly damaged if not destroyed even if complaints have been proven groundless.

      Let’s face it, from Weinstein to Levine, few prosecutions have taken place and no evidentiary standards have been presented. In most of these cases the claims of people against them have proven too serious, and too widespread and consistent, to ignore. The profile of some of them has been sufficiently high that their names are now in public. That may be regrettable, but is it any more so than the fact that their employers or colleagues shut a blind eye to malfeasance over years? The Churches, particularly the Catholic, have come in for deserved criticism due to the way they treated such accusations historically. Action has to be taken, but this case seems to set a very good standard for how that action should be taken in future.

  • william osborne says:

    From a larger perspective, this represents a notable change that has taken place over the last few years, the trend to no longer tolerate the sexual misbehavior of professors in the German-speaking conservatories. It was long a rampant problem considered essentially a norm. Siegried Mauser and Jurgen von Bose at the Munich’s University of Music are a couple examples that have been in the media.

  • Barry Guerrero says:

    . . . because they didn’t have ANY women at all. What are you suggesting?

    Personally, I think the VPO sounds as good or better today than it ever had. Perhaps they don’t play the Strauss waltzes with the same style and swagger as they used to in the “halycon” days, but I can live with that shortcoming.

    • Beth says:

      By the way, JW Carruther, as you will hear soon, the accusation isnt about woman, but about young men. Just to overthink your sexistic comment.

  • Markus Hofmann says:

    Es ist unerhört, dass solche Missstände erst nach fast 10 Jahren des Unterrichtens dieser Person an der Musikuni Wien aufgedeckt werden.
    Das ist ein totales Versagen der Kontrollgremien. Die Rektorin der Uni Wien Sych sollte auch unverzüglich den Platz räumen. Sie hat ihren Laden nicht im Griff.

  • Maxim says:

    Lets say, he really has harassed some student. OK? and you BET, this was not “she took her and brutally raped” most likely IF anything, STRONg and BIG “IF” , he made comments or maybe touched hand while correcting bow or whatever, maybe invited for a drin anything of that inapropriate kind. So he could be punished by COURT for that, and serve punishments or pay or whatever. But, I am asking myself, if that what he most likely has done, is really so TERRIBLE that he immedeately had to be fired from a teaching job and also can not sit in the orchestra and play? he is not a serial killer or raper, or jack the ripper… I am so sick of this PC BS and this paranoid #metoo trolls, that it is beyond imagination. Entire society lives in fear like in Maos china, and every white male is asking himself, Am I THE NEXT one? For whatever… inferiority complex haters have there prime time today and preferabely love to destroy exsistance of good and successful people.