Amsterdam orchestra sacks conductor Gatti over abuse charges

The Hague (AFP) –


Amsterdam's prestigious Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Thursday said it had sacked its Italian chief conductor Daniele Gatti following media allegations of sexual assault.

"The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra has terminated the cooperation with chief conductor Daniele Gatti with immediate effect," it said in a statement.

It said a July 26 article in The Washington Post "in which Gatti was accused of inappropriate behaviour... has irreparably damaged the relationship of trust between the orchestra and the chief conductor."

Gatti, 56, led the National Radio France Orchestra from 2008 to 2016, when he took over in Amsterdam.

The Washington Post alleged that Gatti had sexually assaulted two women in 1996 and 2000. Other women then came forward with similar accusations.

After the report came out, Gatti issued a statement apologising for his behaviour.

"To all the women I have met in my entire life, especially those who believe I did not treat them with the utmost respect and dignity they certainly deserve, I sincerely apologise from the bottom of my heart," the statement said, according to the Post.

The article maintained that musicians had revealed "a profession rife with harassment", citing other big names in the world of classical music.

The milieu is the latest to come under the spotlight since the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment was sparked by sexual misconduct allegations against Hollywood titan Harvey Weinstein.

The accusations against Gatti and his reactions "have caused a lot of commotion among both musicians and staff," the Amsterdam orchestra said.

Following the Post article" a number of female colleagues of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra reported experiences with Gatti, which are inappropriate considering his position as chief conductor," it added.

Born in Milan, Gatti also served as musical director at the National Academy of St Cecilia in Rome, one of the world's oldest musical institutions, from 1992 to 1997. He was principal guest conductor at the Royal Opera House in London from 1994 to 1997, and musical director of London's Royal Philharmonic Orchestra from 1996 to 2006, as well as the Teatro Comunale in Bologna from 1997 to 2007.