Vienna Philharmonic responds to the sacking of a principal cello

Vienna Philharmonic responds to the sacking of a principal cello


norman lebrecht

February 27, 2020

Statement just received on the Vienna Staatsoper’s dismissal of a principal cello, who holds the same seat in the Vienna Philharmonic:

Die Vereinsstatuten der Wiener Philharmoniker ziehen nach der Entlassung von RN aus der Wiener Staatsoper auch das Ausscheiden aus dem Verein der Wiener Philharmoniker nach sich.   Die Nachricht erreichte das Orchester gestern zu Mittag. Es befindet sich gerade mit dem Beethoven Programm auf Tournee in Paris. RN spielte gestern am Abend nicht mehr.
Mehr ist dazu von philharmonischer Seite aus nicht zu sagen.

The statutes of the Vienna Philharmonic require that, following ‘R.N.”s dismissal by the Vienna State Opera’s, he must also leave the Vienna Philharmonic Association. The news reached the orchestra at noon yesterday. It is currently on tour in Paris with a Beethoven program. ‘R.N.’ stopped playing from yesterday evening.

There is nothing more to say from the Philharmonic side.



  • musical patriarchy says:

    At least from a historical perspective, this would presumably be just the tip of the iceberg.

  • sycorax says:

    Let’s say so: I’m not surprised. The Philharmoniker are around 100 + people, most of them still male. Considered how many men believe (young) women should feel “honoured” by their interest it would have been rather odd if they Philis wouldn’t have had a “foul egg” in their craddle.

    In the special case I don’t think the “institution” Philharmoniker is to blame (except of their very late opening towards women. But that was a time ago). It’s just a society which makes men think such behaviour falls under “boys will be boys” and in which for ages women had to live with becoming harassed.

    Times are changing and in this case I’m rather glad that the case Domingo shows: It’s not acceptable anymore. Perhaps the one or other guy now uses his brains before he uses his hands on a woman who isn’t interested?

    • Tamino says:

      He harassed young men. Your outrage about women being victims is in the wrong place. His victims were men.

      • Mezzosaskia says:

        Isn’t it the same crime, irrespective if men or women? Where did you see any difference? The first information I’ve got just spoke about sexual harassment without further details. Probably sycorax has got the same and answered in her first excitement. “Who is without guilt throw the first stone.”

      • Gustavo says:


        The Vienna Philharmonic are a bunch of homophobes.

        • Mezzosaskia says:

          That’s just a hypothesis, as you wrote, and far away from the truth.

        • sycorax says:

          Because they don’t allow one of them harasses young men?

          So sorry, but I don’t see much of a difference between a man harassing girls or boys. Both is abuse.

          Besides I’m the mother of a son and I certainly wouldn’t like his teacher going after him. And yes, my son’s got at least one homosexual teacher, but homosexual doesn’t mean he’s after every nice young men. In the case of son’s teacher rather not – he’s married and his husband is 15 years his senior. Besides he’s got a little crush on my husband.

      • sycorax says:

        Oh, I didn’t know but actually it doesn’t makes a difference for me. Young men have the same right to be protected as girls.

    • Vienna calling says:

      Maybe next time read before you comment?

    • Norbert says:

      @sycorax – your presumptions are revealing.

      I find the total lack of intellectual discipline (i.e. presumption) in some people, deeply odd.

    • Sara says:

      He harassed men. Men can be harassed, abused etc…too,Believe it or not!?

  • Gustavo says:

    ANYthinG goes…

    Wink wink, nudge, nudge.

  • Hal Sacks says:

    Yuja Wang was on a 4 city tour of China with the Vienna Philharmonic in mid to late October. The last concert I believe on Oct 28th was in Wuhan. That was probably the basis for the intense scrutiny she faced by Canadian authorities at Vancouver Airport. I’m just wondering if the members of the Vienna Philharmonic and their enterage faced and scrutiny at all returning home. Are they being followed for any signs of symptoms?

  • Mezzosaskia says:

    I’m just very sad, that also “my” beloved Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra has it’s case of sexual harassment now. Independing if men or women it’s a shame for all human beings to have such people in their midst. Of course, where so many people work together, the danger is big but anyway, why does it happen again and again?
    From Domingo the whole scene knew it for decades, it isn’t a surprise that one day somebody decided to speak.
    From the VPO I really didn’t expect such a criminal behaviour, don’t ask me why. It’s quite a shock for me.

    • sycorax says:

      I think you – as many of us – hoped too that educated, cultivated men wouldn’t do something like that. It seems so vulgar and common, doesn’t it?
      However, we know of too many examples that being cultivated obviously doesn’t stop some people from rather shady behaviour.

  • If I follow the links in the SD articles they eventually led to this one that says he was “cleared”… in 2018?

    So is this all new? Or was the old “clearing” not for real?

    • Mezzosaskia says:

      He was cleared from the University of music, not from the Vienna State Opers’s Orchestra and not from the Society Vienna Philharmonics. That’s three completely different things.

  • Peter Ramsauer says:

    Dear all,

    I should remind you all that the presumption of innocence holds.
    From what I gather from the newspapers in Austria (mainly “Der Standard”) the cellist’s contract with the Vienna State Opera has been terminated, which, as a consequence, lead to his exit from the Vienna Philharmonic. It seems that termination was a consequence of pending litigation at the appropriate Viennese Employment Court.
    It is doubtful, whether his contract termination at the Vienna State Opera will stand up to scrutiny at the appropriate court in Vienna.
    Furthermore, an investigation into the Cellist’s behavior, undertaken by the Vienna State Opera previously led, apparently, to his full reinstatement.
    I think it is unfair to condemn a person without full assessment of the facts and prior to judgment by a proper court of law.


    Peter Ramsauer

    • norman lebrecht says:

      You are absolutely right. We presented the labour court decision together with statements issued directly to Slipped Disc by the Staatsoper and the Philharmonic about the musician’s dismissal. The labour court decision is the only legal judgement that exists so far. We will continue to report as and when the musician takes further proceedings.

  • Saxon Broken says:

    I hope they nevertheless allowed him to travel back to Vienna with them.