Charles Dutoit

About Charles Dutoit

In a career that dates back to the late 1950s, Swiss conductor Charles Dutoit has brought an atmospheric sheen and detail to performances of French repertoire and big orchestral showpieces, notably during the 25 years he conducted the Montreal Symphony. Born in 1936 in Lausanne, Dutoit studied at the conservatories of Lausanne and Geneva and attended the rehearsals of Ernest Ansermet, an exemplar of the elegant French-Swiss tradition. In 1959, following a stint as an orchestral violist, Dutoit served as guest conductor of the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra. After a directorship of the Bern Symphony Orchestra (1968-78), Dutoit was named music director of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra in 1977. With a Decca contract, Dutoit and Montreal championed a coloristic repertoire of French masters, Russian Romantics, and early Modernists. Of particular note were their sonically vivid recordings of Stravinsky’s The Firebird (1910), Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloe (1912), and Bartók and Prokofiev piano concertos (recorded with Dutoit’s then-wife, Martha Argerich, as soloist). Resigning in 2002, Dutoit went on to work as chief conductor and artistic adviser of the Philadelphia Orchestra (2008-12) and London’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (2009-18). In 2019 he became principal guest conductor of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, however, Dutoit’s activities in North America and Europe have been curtailed since allegations concerning his private life surfaced in 2018.

Lausanne, Switzerland
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