Dutoit and Argerich stage surprise comeback concert

Dutoit and Argerich stage surprise comeback concert


norman lebrecht

August 12, 2018

Martha Argerich has announced an unscheduled concert in Montreux next month, conducted by her former husband Charles Dutoit, who is in the thick of a career setback.

Argerich has cancelled all dates in the US, where she believes that Dutoit was badly treated.

Concert details here.


  • Vincent says:

    If Argerich never wants to play concerts in the US because she wants to protect that predator, she won’t be missed. It’s not like she’s going to play something different from the same, limited works that she’s been playing in concerts for the last forty years or so.

    • Andy says:

      Maybe there are people there who haven’t heard her play them and would love to? Or have heard her play them and would love to hear her play them again. What repertoire does she currently play, concerto-wise? Lizst (1), Schumann, Chopin (1 and 2), Beethoven (1,2 and 3), Prokofiev 3. I’d crawl over broken glass to hear her play any of those.

      • Una says:

        Yes, me too – to use that famous hackned turn of phrase! Wonderful pianist and never tired of her playing. Whilst you can say it’s always the sane, it most certainly is never ever played twice in the same way.

    • Glissando1234567890 says:

      No… Argerich performs new works every year, expanding beyond what might be expected; Boulez, Bartok trios, piano transcriptions. Anyway, Argerich is one of the most brilliant pianists ever – why does it matter if she’s been performing concertos for a long time, if she performs with beautifully?
      Dutoit is a sex-offender, and I don’t think we can ignore what appalling acts he has committed. Yet Argerich was married to him, she had a child with him, and has performed with him numerous times. Her view will be far from objective. For this, Argerich can be forgiven – as of yet, Dutoit can not – to refuse to even acknowledge those whom you have abused shows a complete lack of compassion.

  • Caravaggio says:

    He’s the father of one of her daughters, true, but she divorced him so why is she defending him? Can’t imagine she’d want her daughters, let alone herself, sexually harassed or prevented from advancing in their personal or professional lives for lack of sexual favors.

    • Una says:

      In your opinion… ask her yourself!

    • steven holloway says:

      “…she divorced him so why is she defending him?” A good question to which there may be a good answer. Why not ask Argerich is you really want to know? But remember a cardinal rule for lawyers: Never ask a question you don’t already know the answer to. Dutoit has already been convicted in the court of public opinion known as SD, possibly justly, possibly not, and you don’t sound as if you want to risk having that verdict overturned.

  • V.Lind says:

    Yeah. We’ll see if she turns up. Or does her usual cancellation thing.

    • anon says:

      Good point. It’s going to be the classic bait and switch: she cancels, he stays on, some other pianist comes in at the last moment (maybe one of his young protégées)

  • anon says:

    Is he bullying small local orchestras starved for attention and financing into hiring him as a condition for his wife to appear with them for a reduced fee?

    What ties does the management of the European Philharmonic of Switzerland have with him?

    The real victims will be the young woman players of the EPS exposed to him. Don’t get into an elevator alone with the conductor.

  • Jane Brown says:

    Charles Dutoit and the Royal Philharmonic had been in residency at the Montreux Festival (Septembre Musical) since 2008. Since Dutoit resigned from the RPO earlier this year, the orchestra had to be replaced. Martha Argerich was invited as soloist and not the other way around.
    This concert is an homage to Tobias Richter who is retiring as Director after 16 years at the helm of the Festival.
    Argerich and Dutoit made their debut together in Lausanne in January 1959 (almost 60 years ago!) both playing the Ravel concerto for the first time . After their divorce in 1974, they remained best friends, playing hundreds of concerts all over the world, making several recordings for DGG and EMI and receiving numerous awards including a Grammy.
    It is extremely sad to see and read such lynching of great artists.
    This concert is supposed to be a happy reunion for Tobias Richter and the European Philharmonic of Switzerland, a first class orchestra made of brillant former musicians of the Mahler Youth Orchestra and other ensembles.
    Have we really become a nation that takes pleasure in the demise of others, without any tangible proof?
    I know it has been mentioned quite a number of times on this website, but let me reiterate that an accusation, according to the Webster, is explained as “a formal charge brought against a person in a court of law.” This does not apply in the case of Dutoit.
    An allegation is “not necessarily based on facts”. Not necessarily based on facts!!!
    Some “allegations” regarding Dutoit have been refuted by eyewitnesses on this same website, but of course nobody pays attention to this. Certainly not journalists.
    Have we stopped to think that this #metoo movement might not be concentrating on the real problems?
    Is trying to kiss a woman some 20 or 30 or 40 years ago a crime? Then I think we can all be “accused”.
    Sylvia McNair, who was the first one to write an allegation against Charles Dutoit, came back as his soloist within a few months, performing Haendel’s Messiah in Montreal. She even jumped in as a replacement soon thereafter as a favour to Dutoit and the Montreal Symphony at Carnegie Hall. Does this seem like someone who was harassed? Was it the only time a man expressed admiration and seduction towards her? I doubt it. She was a beautiful, talented artist. I, for one, find it disgraceful to have read her lame comments of an attempted kiss in an elevator some 33 years ago. And this applies to many, including Mrs Luisi, who has become the laughing stock of the music world. Oh! dear, Maestro Dutoit dared pat her on the back as he was walking by her on stage. Oh! certainly, the “accused” deserves to be banned for life.
    The destruction of human beings has gone far enough. Many suicides can already be accounted for in this pursuit of destruction. How far are we willing to go with such attacks?
    Are we all so irreproachable?

    • Ms.Melody says:


      Thank you for this articulate post. The wave of lynchings and firings is drowning
      the classical music world, so when the tide recedes, as it always does, mediocrity will reign supreme. And just in case you are wondering, flirting has become a crime especially in the work place. And time limits do not apply.
      So get your CDs and DVDs while they are still available. Met opera channel slips up once in a while.
      They played Faust conducted by Dutoit several times last week.

      • Caravaggio says:

        Problem is mediocrity has reigned supreme long in advance and in spite of the so called “lynchings” and firings.

    • Bruce says:

      In fairness, I don’t think the point of all this (#metoo, etc.) is that expressions of affection, or interest, should be considered out-of-bounds behavior. I think the problem is abuse of power.

      A threat doesn’t have to be explicit. If you’re a freelance employee, the power dynamic is built into every interaction. Every decision whether to laugh at someone’s joke, whether to bring them the coffee it’s not your job to bring, whether to agree to extra work for no extra money — anything — has to be measured against “will I lose work if I don’t do this,” coupled with “how desperately do I want this job?” (This can occur with or without any economic necessity. e.g. a Wal-Mart employee “requested” to gather up carts from the parking lot after clocking out. You can be from a wealthy family and still want so desperately to be a singer that you’ll consider putting up with a few things.)

      Nobody has to say explicitly “go out and collect carts after you clock out, or I’ll cut your hours” if they have the power to do it. You know they can, and they know that you know.

      In a context like that, something like “Would you like to go for a drink after rehearsal,” while it would sound perfectly OK (meaning perfectly OK to say no to) coming from a colleague, doesn’t sound like something you’re necessarily free to refuse without consequences when it comes from someone who has great power to help or hinder your career.

      Of course it’s never anything “provable,” unless some kind of explicit behavior or speech is caught on a video or audio recording, which is unlikely. It’s not like there are security cameras recording people’s every move, as if they’re shoplifting in a convenience store.

      I think bosses who are decent people (and that could include conductors) understand this and refrain from putting their subordinates in such a position. If you really want to go out for a drink in an innocent way after rehearsal, you can gather a group together and go out en masse. You don’t have to be an antisocial hermit. (And if you’re just looking for someone to hook up with, there’s always Tinder or the time-honored hotel bar. You don’t have to use someone who owes you for the gig.)

      • fierywoman says:

        Perfectly put.

      • Me says:

        If I could add another dimension to your words, it would be to introduce the biological context into what tends to be a solely moral – therefore frustratingly fluid and subjective – discussion.

        I contest the premise that bosses ask their underlings out on dates, and underlyings accept, because of a conscious will to either abuse power or get ahead in life. I suggest that it is deeper than that.

        Our evolutionary time clock progresses far slower than our rapidly accelerating moral one. We are hard-wired to be seduced by a multiplicity of interactive scenarios in which the evolutionary imperative for the advancement of the species is at play. Of course, we are not conscious of the evolutionary imperative. It simply drives everything we do and feel.

        The superior, I would argue, does not simply represent the opportunity to climb the professional ladder to the subordinate, but presents the unconscious, evolutionary symbol of personal improvement, which is intoxicating in a purely hormonal sense. It is seductive per its biological substrates.

        The question arises as to what extent we should control and suppress these natural tendencies to seduce or be seduced. This is a purely moral one, and therefore man-made and subject to oscillating fashions, presuming we can dispense with the archaic notion of divinely-sanctioned moral absolutes, for which I have no patience.

        To reject our biological impulses entirely, in favor of an oppressively robotic sense of puritanical righteousness, seems to me to risk dulling our world of human interaction to the point of stultifying, intolerable numbness. I simply don’t want to live in a world proposed by the robotic, humorless, unironic prescriptions of Anon below, for example. It should be entirely acceptable for any man or woman to ask any other man or woman out on a date, no matter where they meet. The probability is that most people will, indeed, meet in the work place. We ought to be perfectly capable of navigating the at once exiting, at once perilous maze of human suggestion, inference, intrigue, desire, expectation, and underlying lust that define our nature itself. To deny them is to unleash another set of unforseen moral and psychological consequences that we are yet to understand in the relatively infant age of the truly terrifying Tinder.

        That said, biology alone can not sanction the overriding of any acceptable moral order, presuming we can reach a consensus on what defines acceptable, which is the very essence of the problem, of course. The conductor who once aggressively pinned my wife against a dressing room wall, against her will, in front of dozens of guests, was not succumbing to the subtle provocations of biology. He was just being a spoilt, entitled prick who wanted to assert his place in his own imagined pecking order – and had I been there he would have met the back of my Irish hand. Here, we have made progress.

        My only wish is that, in weeding out the real abusers, we do not conflate every expression of our beautifully complex natures with abuse. Abuse is the willful imposition of unreasonable force where consent does not exist or can not reasonably be presumed to exist. Abuse is the use of power to consciously manipulate the unwilling subordinate for personal gain, and it should carry commensurate consequences upon full investigation, as per any other legal transgression. But abuse is NOT the exercising of mutual, natural human impulses to persue pleasure in its myriad forms – from conversation, to flirtation, to sex, to a short or long term relationship. The outcome of such conflation would be a world so aggregoulsy banal that I would wish it on nobody, yet it seems we are headed there.

    • Maria says:

      Too long to read!

    • william osborne says:

      Jane Brown writes: “Have we really become a nation that takes pleasure in the demise of others, without any tangible proof?”

      Multiple victims went on record with corroborating stories.

    • Peter Damond says:

      Totally agree with Jane Brown!!

    • anon says:

      Re: “Is trying to kiss a woman some 20 or 30 or 40 years ago a crime? Then I think we can all be “accused”.”

      Personally, I just do not feel comfortable with hugging/kissing anyone except my immediate family. For me it is too intimate and invades my personal space. Fortunately, I am a man and I live in the UK, so it is pretty easy for me to insist on sticking to good old handshakes, without worrying that to do so would upset powerful people and jeapordise my career. As far as I am concerned, there should be a presumption that “trying to kiss a woman” is unethical, inappropriate, and unprofessional, *unless* she intimated clearly (whether verbally or through unambiguous body-language) that she were happy to engage with such a level of intimacy. Misunderstandings can and do happen, of course, but where somebody persists in trying to force an unwelcome level of intimacy when it is clear that the other party objects, then yes, it is a “crime”.

      • Ms.Melody says:

        I think time and energy are better spent in going after real monsters like Joseph Cullen and such. By the way, at which point is a pedophile declared a dangerous offender and locked up for good in the UK? This is his third arrest. Multiple victims of horrific abuse have posted on this site alone telling their stories and offering support to others. I don’t agree that a compliment or a friendly kiss or pat on the back constitute sexual harassment, violation of space or any malicious behavior. These new rules are creating a culture of fear and hostility where people are afraid to look at each other, smile or show interest towards another person. It is even more difficult for young people to meet and form relationships because anyone with a demanding professional career spends most of their time at work and co-workers are strictly off limits. So this leaves few options: a matchmaker or a sewer called Internet.

        • anon says:

          Has it occurred to you that some of us *choose* to be single? And, in any case, a presumption in favour of handshakes does not prevent mutually consenting parties from forming more intimate relationships in due course.

    • Miranda Fulleylove says:

      Well said Jane Brown – we all need to stop and think before reacting like sheep and dragging others into the gutter, whatever we’ve been persuaded to believe about them.

  • Harpsi says:


  • FreddyMercury’sStatue says:

    Thank you Jane Brown for highlighting the important regional connections. For reminding us of the history of these two artists and their relationship to French speaking Switzerland and to this festival.
    Tobias Richter is one of the most distinguished, respectable, knowledgeable, visionary and passionate impresarios our music world will know. Aside from his family history (his father was Karl Richter), he has built and directed and created extraordinary musical and operatic achievements. He has invested in youth and excellence and he has left an indelible mark.
    His long career deserves whatever swansong he desires.

  • Lady Weidenfeld says:

    I agree one hundred percent with Jane Brown and condemn unequivocally the automatic assumption of guilt following unproven allegations and even dismissal of first-hand witnesses who refute such allegations. Marta is a caring loyal and warm-hearted friend with the greatest integrity and a sense of justice . There has been no justice in the punishment and professional distruction without proof or trial of Dutoit and it is truly wonderful he and Marta will perform together again in Montreux. Unfortunately Menahem Pressler and I will be the wrong side of the Atlantic to be able to attend the concert and applaud them both.

  • Mark says:

    This is yet another reason to love Martha Argerich. Not only a great musician, but someone unafraid of standing up to the hysterical screeching bats of #MeToo.
    Bravissima !!!!