Six more women (five if you don’t count Fiona Allan, who previously spoke to the Boston Globe) have come forward with allegations against world-famous conductor Charles Dutoit, 81. The new allegations include one woman’s accusation of rape. This brings the total number of accusers to ten.
Shortly before Christmas, following the first allegations, Dutoit’s office issued a statement saying the allegations “have no basis in truth.”
“Immediately after her encounter with Dutoit, Allan alleged, the BSO’s orchestra manager called out to her to warn her — too late — about Dutoit. “Before you see maestro, I need to tell you something,” she recalled the manager saying. “Look, we advise, we’ve had some complaints, and I wouldn’t go in there alone.”
Allan believes that at the time, the manager thought he was doing her a favor.
“But the thing that always struck me afterwards was: They had a system in place,” she said. “And the system was called: Don’t go in there by yourself. Like, we’ve had complaints, therefore the way we get around that is that we send people in in pairs. Not: We don’t employ that person anymore.””
Read the full story in the Globe. Rebecca Ostriker and Malcolm Gay report.
Dutoit was a frequent guest conductor with the Boston Symphony Orchestra until the orchestra severed ties with him in late 2017, following the Associated Press’s publication of a story about four women who accused him of assault over a period spanning twenty years.
This comes less than two months after Andris Nelsons, the current music director of the BSO, stated on a Boston Public Radio interview that sexual harassment isn’t a problem in classical music. His comments seemed to not only put forth that sexual harassment isn’t a problem, but brush aside any need for self examination or interrogation of the culture that has permitted these things to happen. That said, English is Nelsons’s fourth language, and he often has trouble expressing himself clearly in interviews. He later released a statement through the orchestra to clarify his comments. It essentially boiled down to acknowledging that sexual harassment can happen in all fields, though he has not observed any in his. He then called for art and music inspiration to guide us to the “better angels” of our human natures.
Dutoit is the second conductor with BSO ties to be accused of sexual assault. The first was former music director James Levine, with whom the BSO has also discontinued its relationship.