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Dutoit Quits!


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Was not aware of this until today. This came from the Bravo! News website I hope I can post it (Admin...if I can't just delete and I'll post the link):

Flamboyant MSO artistic director lauded and panned following resignation:

MONTREAL (CP) Branded both a tyrant and a virtuoso, Montreal Symphony Orchestra music director Charles Dutoit elicited shock and surprise in music circles Thursday following his abrupt resignation.

Dutoit, who quit Wednesday following a dispute with MSO musicians, has been acclaimed as one of the world's finest

conductors during his 25-year run at the helm of the orchestra.

But some critics also contend he's a bully whose verbally abusive motivational style has driven some performers to quit while prompting others to take sick leave.

"In the past year or so it's become intolerable," Emile Subirana, president of the Quebec Musicians' Guild, said in an interview Thursday.

"The musicians are constantly berated or they're insulted or there are sarcastic comments."

Meanwhile, the MSO executive committee met late Thursday and issued a statement saying it was disappointed with Dutoit's decision to resign.

The committee said it will ask Dutoit to complete the 2001-2002 season "and to see the 2002-2003 season through as well, thus ensuring a harmonious transition in the artistic direction of the orchestra."

A recent attempt by Dutoit to dismiss two members of the orchestra resulted in a collective revolt by the musicians against what many players described as the music director's abusive behaviour on the podium.

MSO executives had attempted to bring the sides together to resolve the dispute. But in a statement issued Wednesday, the Swiss-born Dutoit said he was quitting immediately, following what he called "hostile declarations" by the musicians' guild.

The union had previously issued its own open letter, slamming Dutoit's "offensive behaviour and complete lack of respect for the musicians."

The conductor was travelling in the United States this week and was not available for further comment.

But if the conductor's abrasive style rubbed some musicians the wrong way, audiences loved the finished product.

The MSO won a Juno Award and two Grammys under Dutoit's tutelage while producing more than 75 recordings under the Decca/London label, garnering some 40 national and international awards.

Dutoit, who had been music director of the MSO since 1977, also serves as director of the Orchestre national de France and music director of the Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo.

William Littler, an instructor at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, said the orchestra owes its international success to Dutoit.

But Littler added that the old-school conductor's intense style came at a price.

"He's a difficult man because he's very demanding," said Littler, a music critic for the Toronto Star.

"This has historically been the case with most famous conductors. They have been autocrats.

"That's hard to do in this age of unionization because the orchestras insist on being treated humanely."

The Quebec Musicians' Guild had planned to sue the orchestra following the dispute with Dutoit. But Subirana said that with Dutoit apparently gone for good, the suit won't proceed.

Despite the tensions between Dutoit and the union, some MSO players jumped to their former conductor's defence.

MSO violinist Jean-Marc Leblanc said Dutoit will be sadly missed.

"We are surprised," Leblanc told all-news network LCN on Thursday.

"The musicians are very proud of what we've accomplished with Charles Dutoit and they are very confident about what we can accomplish in the future."

But some observers question whether the orchestra can ever match the success it enjoyed under Dutoit.

Littler said the MSO must find a maestro of equal renown to continue its tradition as a top-flight concert and studio orchestra as well as a showcase for many of Canada's most talented musicians.

"(Dutoit) has built up an extremely fine orchestra that is going to be a fine orchestra when he leaves," said Littler.

"But in terms of its international prestige, if it can't find a conductor of high quality to replace him, a period of decline will inevitably take place."

The MSO's board of directors planned to meet Friday. Under Dutoit's original schedule, his next appearance on the podium in Montreal would be for a pair of MSO performances April 23 and 24.




[This message has been edited by roman (edited 04-17-2002).]

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Unfortunately, most articles presented only one view of this whole affair.

The organisation is looking into trying to reinsert Dutoit (at least for the duration of his current "contract"). Dutoit's main "enemy" in this affair is also a bone fide tyrant in his own right.

There are more details of course, and you might see new articles about the recent developments soon enough, trickling towards you.

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Originally posted by SteveLaBonne:

Does anybody agree that 25 years is usually too long for a music director to stay? Look how stale the Boston / Ozawa partnership eventually became. (On the other hand Szell, a bigger b*st*rd than Dutoit could ever possibly be, gave thrilling concerts in Cleveland right up until his death.)

Now days it is. But if you look back some decades ago, Mengelberg was with Concertgebouw Orchestra for 50 years (only terminated because Mengelberg was found guilty as Nazi collaborator in 1945), and Ansermet with l'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande for 48 years.

Ormandy/Philadelphia, Furtwangler/Berlin Philharmonic (with some interruptions around WWII), Karajan/BPO, Mravinsky/Leningrad, and Asahina/Osaka Phil (sadly just terminated due to the death of Asahina last year) are collaborations that lasted more than 30 years. It was not particularly unusual phenominon till recently. And many of the collaborations retained a good deal of freshness and often the later recordings have added some extra maturity and personality as well (which is especially true of Ansermet, Furtwangler, Asahina and Mravinsky). So, as long as the chemistry works, I heartily disagree!

Anyway, sorry to hear that Dutoit is leaving.


[This message has been edited by Toscha (edited 04-18-2002).]

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There is an interesting and informative article about l'Affaire Dutoit in today's NY Times.

Oddly, many members of the orchestra appear not to be too bothered by Dutoit's abusive behavior. Spousal abuse is often said to be an example of co-dependency. Perhaps that applies in organizational settings, too.

What is most interesting about all this is that members of the orchestra have complained to the board of directors for years about Dutoit's abusive, insulting treatment of them. That those complaints have fallen on deaf ears should come as no suprise, since orchestral boards are historically made up of rich folk who, when it comes to music, can't tell Shinola from the other brown stuff.

Mr. LaBonne's mention of Szell brings back some memories. I lived in Cleveland during the Szell era, and yes, the orchestra responded to him magnificently right up to the end. After his death a series of auditions ensued. The orchestra was wildly in favor of a wonderful Hungarian conductor, Istvan Kertesz. That preference was blithely ignored by the orchestra's board, which of course knew better than the hired help.

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The aforementioned NY Times article stated that the audience booed before an MSO concert with a guest conductor.

Dutoit is conducting tonight, tomorrow night, and Saturday night here in Atlanta. I wonder if he'll get a standing ovation or a boo or an oblivious daze from the audience shocked.gif

I personally love Dutoit's recordings, so I'd be willing to stand up if others were.

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I think he is a very good conductor, too. But there are quite a few very good conductors in the world, and some of them manage to produce remarkable results without treating the players like serfs. Since I've introduced a Russian concept (serfdom), I'll give a Russian example: Gennadi Roszdestvensky, who is both enormously respected and very well liked by the toughest critics in the world: the players he leads.

James Levine is another example of a guy who gets fine results even though he was sick during the week they covered tantrum-throwing in conductor's school.

So its possible to produce fine results without being an a**hole.

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Originally posted by K544:

I think he is a very good conductor, too.

I think he' s seriously overrated as a result of the uncritical adulation he's received in Montreal, and from certain record critics (notably those in the Gramophone). He's supposed to be a Berlioz specialist, but back in the 80s I heard him butcher the ****ation de Faust so badly (and by "butcher" I mean actually messing up rhythms and ensemble) with the Cleveland Orchestra that I walked out in the middle. Not surprisingly, I heard later that the players didn't think much of him either.

(That censor is a riot, isn't it? wink.gif )

[This message has been edited by SteveLaBonne (edited 04-18-2002).]

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Originally posted by SteveLaBonne:

Originally posted by Kabal:

Too bad he was sick when they covered another topic.

Would that be staying away from attractive young... never mind.

I am sure he is a good guy. stern.jpg

Kabal, former drunken master of Jack Benny, the only student of Wascha Armpits and Turnyerheadinkoff. Doh!

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Originally posted by zizzer fingerz:

I've never played in an orchestra, but I can't help admiring anyone that can pull that many musicians together, to make beautiful music. I believe he's been involved with some of that ?

I've never been in Nazi Germany before, but I can't help admiring anyone that can pull that many people together, to turn a country around after WWI. I believe he's been involved in some of that?

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