Concertgebouw: Why we fired Daniele Gatti

The general director of the Concertgebouw orchestra, Jan Raes, has given a full and frank interview on the events that led up to the dismissal of the music director on sexual harrassment allegations last summer.

The translation from Dutch in the interview may lose some nuances, but Raes makes it clear that, from the moment the first allegations were raised, he met with Gatti only in the presence of lawyers, a precaution that may have hindered rather than aided the procedure. ‘From day one we have asked for legal advice. No conversation with Gatti was conducted one-on-one.’

He adds that trust broke down between the two sides. ‘The trust quickly melted away, until the final phase, in which Gatti himself broke off the conversation. I do not know why.’

Is he saying that Gatti fired himself?

Read the full report here.

UPDATE: Gatti says he’ll sue the Dutch

Gatti is now music director at Rome Opera.

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  • Monsoon says:

    You fault Raes for immediately bringing in lawyers, but the alternative, trying to quietly resolve the matter behind closed doors, is exactly the problem with the workplace culture at so many companies today, and it could potentially open Raes up to legal liability down the road. When there are allegations of criminal behavior, you always bring in the general counsel.

    • Rgiarola says:

      That’s true. Why anyone including Gatti as anyone else should accept such treatment, specially if they don’t believe they are guilty. Not even a first conversation not personally but to the a committe, but a formal talk with lawyer and probably with minutes of all words said registered in a document.

    • Mark says:

      Monsoon is right. In the case of any allegations against a corporate executive that are even remotely serious and have potential to lead to any action by an employer, I, as the general counsel, would never allow the management to meet with the accused without my (and possibly outside counsel) being present.
      A single wrong word uttered at such a meeting can lead to liability. And NDAs aren’t helpful when court proceedings commence.

    • Thomas says:

      Yes, they should have resolved it on the golf course.

  • Translate says:

    Google translate:

    ‘Trust in conductor Gatti quickly after assault’
    Jan Raes, general director of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, looks back at the affair Gatti, the boss who suddenly had to leave.

    Erik Voermans 18-01-19, 18:00
    1
    On 1 August 2018 the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra made it known that it had said goodbye to its chief conductor Daniele Gatti with immediate effect. About that dismissal, the reason, the decision-making process and the conducted procedure remained in the air, because the orchestra management broke the media. Moreover, she had her hands full of finding replacement conductors for the 42 concerts at home and abroad that left Gatti vacant. Only at the end of December did director Jan Raes speak for the first time on NPO Radio. A quote that stuck: “Perhaps we should have communicated something more.” “Tomorrow the new home of the KCO in Amsterdam officially opens the doors, the beautiful RCO House on the Gabriël Metsustraat, Raes agreed in an interview.

    Read also (3)
    Chief Conductor Concertgebouw Orchestra accused of sexual assault
    Chief Conductor Concertgebouw Orchestra accused of sexual assault
    read more
    Gatti has been dismissed for cross-border behavior. At what period do the filed accusations relate exactly?
    ,, Three seasons, from the time that he was the designate chief and the last two years as a chef. But he is not fired, is he? Gatti was not in service. We had a contract agreement and no employment contract. There was a contract as long as the marriage lasts. We ended the cooperation because the trust was taken away. ”

    We ended the cooperation because the trust was taken away
    Jan Raes, orchestra director
    How many women are you talking about?
    ,,Multiple. I do not mention an exact number. There were too many to approach it carelessly. ”

    What exactly was the nature of the complaints? Unwanted touches, kissing, more?
    ,, The women who have had the courage to come and report this have asked to keep this confidential. That means that I myself do not know all the facts. Only the confidant knows that. So I can not say anything about it. The point is that those people have felt uncomfortable and unsafe. Our job is to protect them. ”

    Have the complaints been thoroughly investigated? And how?
    “This was poured into a careful method by the counselor. It is not for me to doubt that methodology. You then examine whether the people concerned have shared the incident with their partner or friend during that period. Methods such as The Washington Post that also used. ”

    Orchestra director Jan Raes: ,, It was about several women. ”
    Orchestra director Jan Raes: ,, It was about several women. ” © Marco Bakker / Lumen
    Has Gatti been heard in person by the board in the presence of a lawyer?
    ,,Several times. From day one we have asked for legal advice. No conversation with Gatti was conducted one-on-one, from the moment we knew that something would appear in The Washington Post. We have been working on it for longer than some people might have suspected. In June we were already informed that something would appear in that newspaper. That’s what Gatti’s management told us in panic. ”

    What was your initial reaction?
    ,, We were incredibly surprised. Curious about what would be in the newspaper. Then we prepared several scenarios and we started a conversation with Gatti. The article was postponed a few times, which meant we also had more time. ”

    How did Gatti respond?
    ,, I do not want to speak in his name. ”

    How did the orchestra react?
    ,, We were appalled after the publication. A few hours later I sent a letter to the orchestra and staff, in which I indicated that we were going to investigate this thoroughly and pointed out to our three confidential advisors. Then several reports came in. Until then there were no reports about Gatti here. The Washington Post has been a catalyst. ”

    The Washington Post has been a catalyst
    Jan Raes, orchestra director
    Had you not heard anything before in the corridors?
    ,, We do not rely on rumors. That is only dangerous! After the decision, another incident came to our attention, but that person did not want to report it. “I’ve also suffered from it, but you’ve already decided, and I do not want this after my name.” People are therefore afraid if that confidentiality is broken. We made our decision on the basis of formal reports. ”

    Have less severe sanctions been considered?
    ,, We have considered several scenarios, from ‘can happen’ to what has now been decided, and have actually tried to help Gatti in all conversations. To save. But that trust has quickly melted away, until the final phase, in which Gatti himself broke off the conversation. I do not know why.”

    Your press release referred to ‘concerned stakeholders’. Were there implicit warnings?
    ,,No. In big, bold letters: nobody has tried to influence us. On the contrary. There is only 95% appreciation. The orchestra has risen in esteem due to the standard awareness shown. ”

    Were there signs that the orchestra with Gatti was no longer welcome in the US, where the # MeToo soup is served the hottest?
    ,,No. There has been no signal. There was a plea in August: ‘You will come anyway?’ I am very proud that we could continue all concerts, including the tours, including the American, with Daniel Harding. That’s brave, is not it, because you’re in a hell to solve everything. But thanks to Bernard Haitink, Jaap van Zweden, Dima Slobodenjoek and others, we have come out. ”

    By whom is Gatti the final message communicated? YOU?
    ,, You do that together, as a team. I never had a conversation with Gatti on my own. ”

    How did he react?
    “I understand the curiosity, but I do not talk about it out of respect, because I admire him as a conductor. He knew it first. Can we not talk about the future? ”

    Daniele Gatti during a rehearsal in 2014
    Daniele Gatti during a rehearsal in 2014 © Renske Vrolijk
    We have to go through a bit. Will there be a legal follow-up?
    ,, No, that is not the issue. We are only concerned about the future. As enthusiastic as the orchestra now plays. Art is very vulnerable. Making music is vulnerable. We do not look back. ”

    But I assume that there are still talk of termination payments. Compensation. Compensation.
    “Will not be discussed.”

    So Gatti’s departure costs you nothing?
    ,, We assume that. That question is not addressed to us now. And we are already six or seven months later. We look to the future. ”

    Art is very vulnerable. Making music is vulnerable. We do not look back
    Jan Raes, orchestra director
    Does that also apply to the Pelléas et Mélisande that he would conduct with the KCO at De Nationale Opera?
    ,, That is a deal with the opera. ” (When asked, he answers: ‘No comment.’ ‘, Red.)

    In NRC there was a submitted piece by Melvyn Krauss, a supporter of the orchestra. He reported that some conductors no longer want to work with the KCO. He called Fabio Luisi. Is that correct?
    “Totally incorrect. Nobody has refused and Luisi has been booked for the future. We have not responded to this. ”

    Have the musicians been given a ban on speaking?
    ,,Not at all. We have a very open culture internally. I do not recognize the word ‘fear culture’ either. Because of the summer holidays, the news most musicians have fallen cold on the roof. In their opinion they have missed a step. I understand that.”

    How did it come to you that conductor Valeri Gergjev quickly took care of Gatti and offered him concerts?
    ,, Well, how can I advise other orchestras and conductors if nothing happened to them? To hang out the morality knight in Russia or Berlin, that would be manipulative. I have no opinion about that. ”

    Text continues under photo

    Concert hall during ina Daniele Gatti is inaugurated as the new chief conductor of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.
    Concert hall during ina Daniele Gatti is inaugurated as the new chief conductor of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. © ANP KOEN VAN WEEL
    Then to the future. The new chef?
    “Will I give the name? Then you have a scoop. ”

    No problem.
    ,,No. We have decided not to rush this search. There are already four great conductors who would like to do it. Of course I do not say who. The mating dance has already started. In my nineteen years as an orchestral director, I have already experienced this before. That phase is exciting. ”

    How long can the KCO be without a chef?
    ,,We live. It should not take five years. We have four or five debuts next season. It is exciting. Everyone is doing his best. Is more motivated. I personally think you need a chef. You have that in your house for about twelve weeks a year to make the automatisms in an orchestra exceptional. This is about tone color, phrasing, ensemble playing, agogics, just about doing something different about each concert. A chef also has influence, can draw long lines in programming, is a face in marketing, especially abroad. ”

    • Paul Carlile says:

      Wunderfool! Of curse, Gurggle Trashlate is a usefault ooh-well….. sorry, useful tool, but what priceless descriptions: accused of “cross-border” behaviour, and even better: “We have decided not to rush this search. There are already four great conductors who would like to do it. Of course I do not say who. The mating dance has already started….(!!).”
      Given the subject, can we expect even more “cross-border” behaviour, x4?
      …or possibly four different interpretations of Me-fist-ho Waltz?

      • Diane Valerie says:

        Google Translate has often given me hours of unintentional mirth, particularly when translating the elusive charms of Slavic languages. None of these automatic translation devices are much good but this one is better than most. You might like to try it: https://www.deepl.com/translator

  • Bruce says:

    For what it’s worth (and I know that’s not much for some), I’d like to point out — again — that, in marked contrast to Dutoit, Levine et al., Gatti made a public apology, saying he thought the interactions in question were consensual, and he felt terrible about it and would try never to do it again.

    I feel that, reputationally he deserves some credit for that, although obviously he shouldn’t be given a free pass out of any trouble he’s gotten himself into and he should expect to be watched very closely by any organization that offers him work in the future.

    • monsoon says:

      That’s not true.

      When the Washington Post story broke, Gatti issued a vague apology to all the women in his life who he may have somehow offended. It was a pretty tone-deaf statement.

      Then after he was fired his lawyers put out a statement where he denied ever sexual harassing a woman.

    • fearful observer says:

      That’s not completely true. A good number of the people who have faced allegations over the last couple years have said they didn’t know their actions caused harm, that they thought they were consensual, and that they were sorry for any harm. (The usual responses.)

      Perhaps the difference is that Gatti quickly hired a PR firm (if I remember right) which has formulated and distributed carefully crafted public statements for him. Under the circumstances, these statements need to be viewed with a bit of skepticism.

      He has also retained law firms that have threaten to sue anyone who might defame or slander him. This has probably suppressed discussion, further complicating the issues. And in retrospect, it probably explains why the Concertgebouw chose to have lawyers present during all discussions with him. We see he is now saying he is going to sue them.

      Are we also seeing a cultural divide? It might be honestly difficult for Italian and French men to understand why they can’t treat women everywhere like they do in their own countries.

      With Levine’s lawsuit, and now one being threatened by Gatti, we see the usual backlash against sexual abuse. Classical music’s atmosphere of silence through intimidation, and complicity through silence, will not go down without a fight.

  • Tamino says:

    so it boils down to:
    “…I myself do not know all the facts. Only the confidant knows that. So I can not say anything about it. The point is that those people have felt uncomfortable and unsafe.”

    some people have ‘felt uncomfortable and unsafe’. That’s the wording the opponent side chooses to describe Gatti’s crime. That’s it? That’s hardly substantial enough to fire someone without compensation and ruin his career.

    • Saxon Broken says:

      Sigh…he was fired after an internal disciplinary procedure which is *confidential*. So YOU don’t know the full details of what happened.

      And you can be fired for “making someone uncomfortable” as long as it can be shown that being uncomfortable is a reasonable response to the behaviour in question, and the behaviour is persistent. And firing is proportionate response.

  • fearful observer says:

    That’s not true. A good number of the people who have faced allegations over the last couple years have said they didn’t know their actions caused harm, that they thought they were consensual, and that they were sorry for any harm. Perhaps the difference is that Gatti quickly hired a PR firm (if I remember right) which has formulated and distributed carefully crafted public statements for him. Under the circumstances, these statements need to be viewed with discernment. He has also retained law firms that have threaten to sue anyone who might defame or slander him. This has probably suppressed discussion, further complicating the issues. And in retrospect, it probably explains why the Concertgebouw chose to have lawyers present during all discussions with him.

    Are we also seeing a cultural divide? It might be honestly difficult for Italian and French men to understand why they can’t treat women everywhere like they do in their own countries. Hard to say.

    • Tamino says:

      Your unintelligent collective simplification and stereotyping from the last paragraph aside:
      The Concertgebouw so far has, on multiple occasions, only vaguely described the crime in question as ‘some people felt uncomfortable and unsafe’. Gatti was never more specifically and more severely accused. No punishable offence was ever named.
      Honouring that fact, we must believe, that Concertgebouw has indeed overreacted irresponsibly and will probably pay for it dearly.
      It looks to the outsider, they conspired to get rid of him and terminate his contract without compensation, for unknown reason.

      • Saxon Broken says:

        Organisations do not normally publish the details of internal disciplinary proceedings. The fact you don’t know the facts is irrelevant.

        • Tamino says:

          You are in the wrong thread. This thread opens with: “The general director of the Concertgebouw orchestra, Jan Raes, has given a full and frank interview…”

      • Bill says:

        You may choose to believe that, but you are not forced to do so. The KCO is not obligated to tell us anything about the matter, any more than your boss would be obligated to tell me why you were fired.

        Can you think of some reason WHY they would want to conspire to get rid of him?

  • Patrick says:

    They realize their absolute shame and try to justify themselves. I hope every serious conductor will turn down the job. Shame on the Concertgebouw ORchestra!

    • gloria monti says:

      go ahead, defend him. i went to school with gatti. to think that such a sweet boy turned out to be a narcissist and entitled sexual predator makes me shudder

  • fflambeau says:

    Interesting that he says there were multiple incidents, the Washington Post had indicated two women, and that one occurred after action was taken. Good riddance, and back to Italy for the Maestro.

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