Charles Dutoit steps down early at Royal Philharmonic

Sunday, 14 Jan, 2018

It has been announced today that conductor Charles Dutoit has stepped down as Artistic Director of London's Royal Philharmonic Orchestra effective immediately - following allegations last month of sexual misconduct.

"Following an emergency Board meeting and further dialogue with Charles Dutoit, the RPO and Charles Dutoit have together chose to bring forward his resignation from his role as Artistic Director and Principal Conductor". His office has said there is no truth to the allegations.

The statement continued: 'Whilst Mr Dutoit continues to seek legal counsel to defend himself, the protracted uncertainty and media reporting makes Mr Dutoit's position with the Orchestra untenable.

Responding to the allegations, Dutoit said: 'The allegations made against me are as shocking to me as they are to my friends and colleagues.

Retired mezzo-soprano Paula Rasmussen recounted an incident she said occurred in his dressing room at the Los Angeles Opera in September 1991. They said that his behavior had included physically restraining them, forcing his body against theirs, putting his tongue into their mouths, and, in one case, sticking one of their hands down his trousers.

Another of the accusers, soprano and two-time Grammy victor Sylvia McNair, said Dutoit cornered her in a hotel elevator after a rehearsal with the Minnesota Orchestra in 1985.

It added: "This decision has been made following allegations of inappropriate conduct by Mr Dutoit, which were first reported on December 21 2017". When the elevator opened, she dashed out.

The world-renowned conductor, who had been due to receive the new title of honorary conductor for life at the RPO, has already been sacked from other positions at the Boston Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony and Sydney Symphony Orchestra after the allegations.

Another woman told The Boston Globe that Mr. Dutoit had sexually assaulted her 20 years ago at Tanglewood, where she was working as an intern and he was a guest conductor of the Boston Symphony.