Paris orchestra has no complaints about Daniele Gatti

Musicians in the Orchestre National de France, where Gatti was music director for eight years before upgrading to the Concertgebouw, say they have no cause for complaint about his conduct, on or off the podium.

One of the musicians’ union reps says they are shocked at his dismissal by the Concertgebouw on the basis of a Washington Post report and unnamed complaints by Amsterdam musicians. In Paris, such matters are handled differently.

Gatti, it appears, will be welcomed back in Paris and may be asked to conduct next year’s national July 14 concert.

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  • Have there been any complaints from the RPO? He was MD there for over a decade. If the only complaints are from the RCO this all might start to look a little fishy. Men prone to the sort of behaviour which is alleged cannot help themselves and behave like this anywhere.

      • Yes. In 1996 and 2000. Last century. He has apologised. Let’s see what the courts decide if the two women – or Gatti – go to court.

        • There is great damage to Gatti, to be suddenly removed from one of the top jobs in classical music: he will never recover, no matter what happens. If no similar allegations rise from his London or Paris tenures, then I hope this does go to court so we learn what was really behind the Amsterdam move. Perhaps a ruse to rid themselves of a poorly chosen chief?

          • If, as has been suggested, they extended his contract shortly before this blew up, it doesn’t sound as though they were dissatisfied with him on artistic grounds.

          • Since it is an internal disciplinary matter, neither Gatti nor the RCO have any obligation to explain anything to anyone. If anything, the RCO have a duty to keep the matter confidential.

          • Saxon Broken, a bit too late for that. The RCO has already publicly stated the allegations and their verdict: immediate termination of contract.
            You can’t accuse someone publicly of a crime or misconduct, and then keep silent, when people want explanations.
            That’s just slander and damage of reputation.

      • At this stage they are only allegations, so the RCO had no business sacking him before conducting an enquiry. Suspending him by cancelling dates pending the outcome of an enquiry would be appropriate, but not a summary dismissal. Gatti is going to have his day in court, since he now has little to lose.

        • Er…the RCO held a disciplinary meeting. The outcome was that Gatti was fired. He almost certainly would be unwise to go to court.

          • Gatti is not an employee of RCO. He is a contractor. RCO can hold meetings as much as they want. This matter will be settled by a court or by a direct settlement between the two parties.

        • He certainly may have something to lose, if going to court results in documentation of his alleged misconduct being released to the public! Right now, an organization wanting his services can with some justification argue that the allegations are just that, and decide to hire him. But if he goes to court and the result is we find out the allegations are grounded in fact, he is then in a worse position with any potential employer who may care about them.

  • Any musician with a modicum of dignity should refuse to collaborate with or lend support to him, should the man get selected to conduct the event.

    • Based on what? Hearsay? Rumors?
      That‘s all that is out there.
      Welcome to the middle ages.
      You seem quite active in the witch hunt.

      • Based on the women who have accused him of sexual harassment. Nothing to be taken lightly. Who do you believe: the women (some of whom agreed to have their names published by the WaPo) or your pet project, Gatti?

        • We know he was accused.
          But we don‘t know if it’s true and what really happened.
          If tomorrow you are accused by someone for something you didn‘t do, would you be ok with it to be punished for it?

          • I would be unhappy, certainly. But if I could not prove that the charges were false, I would accept that some might choose not to work or associate with me based on those accusations, and as a practical matter, if that is a widely held belief, I’m not sure it would be in my interest to insist that they do so, should I have the ability to do so.

            People are going to make up their own minds, and not always in the way you might want. If you are in the habit of doing things that make the accusations plausible (whether or not they are true), you are going to have a harder time of it than if you behave yourself in a fashion that doesn’t give an easy opening for someone to make believable accusations. Who knows, Herbert Blomstedt might be the dirtiest old man to ever set foot on a podium, but even ignoring his age, I doubt many would find an accusation that he was putting a lot of wear and tear on the couch in his dressing room credible. On the other hand, if you’ve earned yourself a reputation as someone who doesn’t take “no” as an answer from the people who catch your eye, sooner or later there will be plenty who believe your accusers, and you helped make it possible.

            I do think that sacking a conductor is a big step, and that orchestra managements are unlikely to do so without having what they see as good reasons.

          • Wow Bill, that‘s delusional stuff.
            If enough people believed you did something you actually didn‘t do, and you would still be punished for it, you would accept that?
            I have heard crazier things, but not many.

          • Tamino, you’re the one who is delusional here. If public opinion is that you’re damaged goods, you’re damaged goods. Whether you think that is unfair or not won’t make a whit’s difference. If you conduct your life in a way that looks like you are beyond the pale, plenty of people will believe it whether true or not. No legal finding will reverse that, and the days where you might count on the management to help keep your misadventures hidden are…well, I wouldn’t count on it. If these stories are all unbelievable fictions, why are so many willing to believe? If the accusations were easily dismissed, would managements be sacking conductors? I don’t think so! Finding a new conductor is a big task that no one wants to do unnecessarily or unexpectedly.

          • Bill, mindsets like yours are a direct danger to any democracy. You promote the tyranny of the masses. That is the opposite what an enlightened democracy and rule of law is all about.
            You in effect sanction lynch mobs in the end. Or worse.
            With your mindset also the holocaust would have been justifiable. I know, an always hyperbolic comparison in light of the subject at hand. But think about it.

          • Of course you don’t know if it is true but tamino seems to think accusations should simply be ignored. There needs to be a reaction to an accusation so the truth can be found. Word against word is the nature of all rape allegations by the way and they always start with nobody knowing the truth. Just because somebody is a famous conductor laws can’t be dumped to make one ecstatic gatti fan happy.

          • And more nonsense, now from ‘Vienna calling’.
            Nobody said the accusations should be ignored.
            The reaction, are you listening, ‘Vienna calling’, to an accusation, is an investigation first. Not judgement and execution without due process.

          • Tamino: this might be hard for YOU to understand. But the RCO do not need to provide YOU with the evidence. They fired him because THEY had the evidence, and demonstrated their evidence to Gatti in a disciplinary hearing. Both parties have chosen not to share it with YOU.

          • Well fair enough (for us outsiders). But I’m still curious what kind of clause that contract has, that allows termination based on something merely morally inappropriate, not constituting a misdemeanor or crime under the law. It’s highly unusual, to have moral conduct codified in chief conductor contracts.
            It might be worth it for Gatti, not only to sue for at least getting his full fee out of his contract from RCO, but on top of it also for compensation for the damages he is suffering now. The “evidence” RCO says they have, probably in form of testimonies, would then have to be given under oath.

          • Tamino,
            According to some ones here, all denouncer of sexual harassment are hallowed. They are so hollow that they will never commit slander ever. Any other crime the denouncer commits slander if she/he cannot prove it, but destroyed publicly the reputation of the denounced.
            There are people here even saying that there isn’t any crime, that it is just an internal affair of RCO and that this institution can perform an act of punishment, and act that will prove in a court that they are perhaps in the side of a slander.
            I will not be surprised if Mr. Alberto Bordon (DG lawyer), sue RCO and if at the end win in the court proving it was a slander, that all this people will be saying non-sense things such “The lawn isn’t suit to judge it, the problem is moral isn’t legal”

  • Let’s see, if you were a French woman player, and you had a complaint, and you heard that management was inviting Gatti back for next season, would you have spoken out?

    People are not stupid, they sense the culture of an organization, what is tolerated, what is tolerable.

    Gatti is a mediocre conductor, and if the French want to have him for their mediocre orchestras, let’s have Harding and Gatti switch places.

    • There were no complaints about Gatti in this orchestra ..
      Not even anonymous.
      In the eight years he was chef from the Orchestre National de France … not one.
      And mediocre orchestra? Obviously no idea !
      Besides that , be a real “man” and comment with your real name and profilepic .

      • In theory, it is possible that in french orchestras, women are used to inappropriate behavior and are not disturbed by it. Also it is possible that they simply did not notice such behavior because it was not done well enough – courting is a difficult art and the french have a longstanding tradition in it. And another possibility is that DG was outdone by other, local men who knew the local sophistications. The last – unlikely – possibility is that none of the female players were attractive enough.

    • This looks like backwards thinking, i.e. thinking in reverse, rather than implying stupidity. The reality is that Gatti is now damaged goods and, if women in Paris and elsewhere were to speak up now, any invitation might well be swiftly withdrawn. After all, the fact that he was MD didn’t stop women in the RCO speaking out.

    • The point here isn’t DG qualility as musician, but denouncement of a crime. You must the a danger person gentleman, since you wanna a sack of a professional in this miserable way.

      • Its not a crime, in the sense that what he did was criminal (at least as far as is known). And he won’t go to the criminal courts or face jail. What he did at the RCO was in breach of his employment conditions, and is a matter between the RCO and him. They decided his behaviour should result in the termination of his contract. Hence, although unpleasant and immoral it, wasn’t illegal.

        • Destroy someone reputation performing such termination of contract in this way, can be a crime for sure. I don’t know if DG will in fact go to the court, since he can be paid for his silence, but h already had asked his lawyer Mr. Alberto Bordon to do any measure against the attack to his reputation, and both called it is a “Smear campaign”
          So, don’t take for granted that nothing illegal had happens.

        • It’s highly unlikely RCO had a clause, and that clause being legal in the first place, in their contract with DG, that allows termination of contract based on morally ‘inappropriate’ behavior only, basically because a number of women had unpleasant feelings about something. That’s a slippery slope. Wouldn’t that open doors for firing chief conductors only because they raised their voice in anger in a rehearsal, for the same reason: A few people feel bad about it?

    • If there was a victim, why does she has to keep silence to save a mediocre(according to you) conductor? There are still 10 months before the event?

      • If you are the new union representative, you should spend more time talking to your female collegues rather than wasting your time on this site.

        You are putting your name out there as a publicity stunt. Everyone on this site knows “David Riviere” but no one knows the name of any of the hidden victims.

        Go do your job.

  • Nothing has been proved yet against Gatti who is an excellent conductor. Until he is convicted by the courts, he is presumed innocent. I hope his free dates will be used by other orchestras if one of their scheduled conductors fall Ill. I look forward to see him conducting Rigoletto in Rome and a Schönberg/Brahms programme in Leipzig.

    • Exactly! We will not accept another lynching, based just in a denouncement to a newspaper. Sexual harrasment and slendering are both crimes and must be judged by the court.

  • This report is a pure scandal.
    The union rep never said Gatti is welcomed back, nor the Music Director of Radio France.
    The question is to be debated in september.
    M Lebrecht should be aware that one of the high level onf manager had to resign last february on harasment accusations !
    Be honest, just once and provide a complete translation !!
    I notice that you did not report the opera of Zurich declaration who said there was no problem whit M Gatti while his three years conducting this institution.
    Be sure the onf will officially protest as you change the real content of this review.
    David Riviere
    ONF musicians representant

      • M Quennesson is a former orchestra representative, I am the actual holder with five other musicians elected last march.
        We agree his statement in which he says the RCO decision leads to think there are concret facts.
        But he also emphasis the fact we just don’t understand how the RCO could proceed to a serious inquiry in just one week.

        Moreover I wonder how many slippedisc followers can read french.
        M Orier ,Radio France Music Director says about the july 14
        Concert that he will evaluate this case considering its future evolution.
        Here is the link to the swiss article :

        Regarding these elements allow me to doubt that your readers can actually « draw their own conclusions ».

        Sincerly yours

        David Riviere

        • David:

          Why don’t you provide an English translation, making clear your position. And ask Norman Lebrecht whether he would agree to publish it?

  • All of the French orchestras will gradually be hiring women conductors to replace all the male conductors! Women conductors will make French Orchestras great again and on par with the rest of Europe. Male conductors are all mired in mediocrity and made French orchestras mediocre. Women conductors are vastly superior and can make any orchestra great again.

    • Right so! And it is about time the work of Ludwiga van Beethovena and Francizka Schuberta makes its way into the programmation of all major orchestras

  • Apparently the reporter of WP explained in an interview that Gatti was warned back in June about the article (in which he in fact responds to the accusations ) so it is plausible to think that the RCO has known about these allegations for more than just a week before taking their decision to fire him…and probably their internal inquiry must have been taking place prior to the WP article .

  • I just read that Benny Fredriksson, artistic director of Stockholm’s Kulturhuset Stadsteatern, killed himself after being accused in media reports of sexually abusing employees. According to this article an investigation found no evidence of sexual misconduct by Fredriksson. This metto nonsense is being fueled by a media feeding frenzy. They don’t bother to check whether accusers are credible. Don’t let the facts get in the way of a juicy story.

    • “Soweit bisher bekannt ist, wird ihm nichts juristisch Relevantes vorgeworfen; etliche Musikerinnen und Musiker des Concertgebouw Orchestra haben sich mit ihm solidarisiert.”

      As is known sofar, he has not been accused of anything legally relevant; some players – female and male – of the RCO have expressed solidarity with him.

      • Wow, sounds like this story is far from being over.
        I’m still wondering for RCO’s motive for sacking him in such a haste.
        Most likely it was a gesture of preemptive political correctness, due to fear for loss of political – and in the end financial – support from the Netherlands and municipal government. The times are tough for publicly funded culture in the Netherlands, a country descending from merchants, fishermen and farmers.

        • …. and which was the very first modern society in Europe in terms of freedom, democracy, equality, respect for the individual, and the living together of very different communities and areas. In the 17th century, suppressed and persecuted people from all over Europe: Jews, protestants, scientists, critics of religion, and innumerable workers from Eastern Europe went to the centre of progressive European modernity that was the Republic. It lasted some 100 years and produced a wealth of art works which are now in almost all the great museums of the world. Its ships cruised all the seas of the planet, trading all possible goods including African slaves (the extent of which has only recently surfaced to great general embarrassment). Banking, accountancy, insurances, investment, stock market intricacies, book printing & publishing, engineering, technology – the Republic was at the cutting edge of all these things. With the occasional Taminos they dealt with quickly and effectively.

          • So even more shameful, the state of public financing of culture in the Netherlands today. Why would they have to ‘deal’ with a Tamino, if they were so tolerant and free?
            Unfortunately those prosperous times you talk about peaked over 300 years ago, when Amsterdam was the center of world trade, and over 50% of its population were immigrants.

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