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Daniel Barenboim’s Contract Is Extended Despite Bullying Accusations


Daniel Barenboim’s Contract Is Extended Despite Bullying Accusations

[Read our report about Daniel Barenboim’s behavior.]

In an email to The New York Times in February, Mr. Barenboim said he sometimes used a “harsh tone” with employees, but disputed being a “bully” and argued that the accusations had been suspiciously timed to coincide with his contract renegotiations. Speaking at the news conference Tuesday, Mr. Barenboim said, “I am very thankful that the orchestra wants me to continue.”

Leo Siberski, the music director of the Plauen-Zwickau Theater in Germany who played trumpet under Mr. Barenboim from 1992 to 2003, in February accused the conductor of having bullied and humiliated him and other members of his orchestra. In a phone interview on Tuesday, after the announcement, he said that he had spoken with the third-party organization that looked into the allegations.

He said the investigators’ questions were directed at whether incidents crossed legal boundaries, rather than centering on irresponsible behavior. “They were only interested in black-and-white things and of course, this case is not black and white,” he said.

Of Mr. Barenboim’s contract extension, Mr. Siberski said he didn’t care what happened to his former boss anymore. “I said what I said, and I’m very happy I did,” he explained. “It’s Berlin’s business now. Whatever they feel is best for Berlin, is best for them.”

As for Mr. Barenboim, when asked Tuesday what personal reflections he had in the wake of the accusations, he responded only that he would “tell that to the orchestra.”

Susanne Schergaut, a member of the orchestra leadership, said that as a result of the controversy, the conversations in the organization about disagreements had gotten more “intensive.” She pushed back against media reports, saying that “we don’t want our relationship to our boss to be explained to us from the outside.”

Thomas Rogers reported from Berlin and Alex Marshall from New York.

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