Berlin Staatskapelle musicians allege bullying by Barenboim

Posted on: February 28, 2019

Daniel Barenboim “has been accused of bullying and humiliating members of the Staatskapelle,” the orchestra of Berlin’s Staatsoper opera house, write Alex Marshall and Christopher F. Schuetze in Tuesday’s (2/26) New York Times. “The accusations have been reported widely in German media…. Klaus Lederer, Berlin’s highest-ranking official for culture … has asked the opera company to appoint a third party to look into the matter…. Seven former or current members of the Staatskapelle … highlighted examples of Mr. Barenboim’s behavior that they said was bullying and went beyond what was normal for a conductor. Mr. Barenboim dismissed the accusations…. ‘The issue is not personal, but a question of how orchestras are run in the 21st century,’ Martin Reinhardt, a trombonist in the Copenhagen Philharmonic who played in the Staatskapelle and has openly criticized Mr. Barenboim’s behavior, said … The accusations against Mr. Barenboim first appeared on Feb. 6 in VAN, an online classical music magazine [based in Berlin]…. Mr. Barenboim acknowledged that the world is changing. ‘That is generally a good thing,’ he said. But, he added, ‘an orchestra cannot function if every tempo, every dynamic is put up for a democratic vote. Somebody has to lead, take decisions and be ultimately responsible.’ ”

Posted February 27, 2019