Opinion: The limitations and risks of focusing on the maestro

Posted on: February 16, 2018

“An old story caught up with the board and administration of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra last week, as allegations of psychological abuse of players by former music director Charles Dutoit were spelled out in detail,” writes Robert Everett-Green in Saturday’s (2/10) Globe and Mail (Canada). “The players’ complaints of bullying … were made very public [in] an open letter … in April, 2002 … precipitating … Mr. Dutoit’s abrupt resignation days later…. [The orchestra] faced a gaping hole where its global branding had been focused. It had to reprint its brochure for the forthcoming season, which had an image of Mr. Dutoit on every page…. Selling your leader as an indispensable wizard makes it hard to control him if he steps out of line. It also confuses the public about what an orchestra is. It’s not a band of puppets waiting to be activated by an inspired pair of hands. It’s a gathering of individual artists, who together maintain the sound, traditions and personality of the ensemble…. To recognize that more openly would give a more accurate picture of how orchestral music is made [and] shore up the players’ personal dignity and rights.”

Posted February 16, 2018