Charles Dutoit leaves his post as conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

The Grammy Award-winning conductor leaves his role after accusations of sexual assault

Published: December 22, 2017 at 1:04 pm

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra has today responded to allegations of inappropriate conduct by their artistic director and principal conductor Charles Dutoit, stating that they have released him ‘from his forthcoming concert obligations for the immediate future’.

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The Swiss conductor has been accused of sexual assault by three opera singers and a musician, who gave separate interviews with The Associated Press, giving details of the incidents they state occurred between 1985 and 2010.

The women include mezzo-soprano Paula Rasmussen and soprano Sylvia McNair. Another of the women, who preferred to remain anonymous, said Dutoit had attacked her on four occasions while she was a member of the Philadelphia Orchestra. The orchestra’s former president Joe Kluger responded to allegations stating, Dutoit’s ‘inappropriate behaviour with women (was) common knowledge in the classical music business’ and that his ‘extremely flirtatious’ manner was a factor in twice denying him the music director position.

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra has released a statement responding to the allegations and releasing Dutoit from his conducting duties, maintaining that they needed ‘to allow time for a clear picture to be established’.

Dutoit has also been released from five concerts with the New York Philharmonic in January, and several more with the Cleveland Orchestra and Chicago Symphony Orchestra in early 2018.

The accusations have been made in the wake of Metropolitan Opera conductor James Levine’s suspension earlier this month after sexual misconduct allegations.

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Dutoit also holds the position of music director of the Verbier Festival Orchestra in Switzerland, conductor laureate of the Philadelphia Orchestra, conductor emeritus of the NHK Symphony Orchestra of Tokyo and conductor emeritus of the Verbier Music Festival Orchestra. In 2014 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Classical Music Awards, and has 40 major accolades to his name including two Grammys.

Authors

Freya ParrDigital Editor and Staff Writer, BBC Music Magazine

Freya Parr is BBC Music Magazine's Digital Editor and Staff Writer. She has also written for titles including the Guardian, Circus Journal, Frankie and Suitcase Magazine, and runs The Noiseletter, a fortnightly arts and culture publication. Freya's main areas of interest and research lie in 20th-century and contemporary music.

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