Charles Dutoit


Charles Dutoit was born in Lausanne, Switzerland. He studied there, and graduated from the Conservatoire de musique de Genève, where he won first prize in conducting. Then he went to the Accademia Chigiana in Siena at the invitation of Alceo Galliera. In his younger days, he frequently attended Ernest Ansermet’s rehearsals and had a personal acquaintance with him. He also worked with Herbert von Karajan at Lucerne as a member of the festival youth orchestra and studied at Tanglewood.

Dutoit began his professional music career in 1957 as a viola player with various orchestras across Europe and South America. In January 1959, he made his debut as a professional conductor with an orchestra of Radio Lausanne and Martha Argerich. From 1959 he was a guest conductor of the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra. After this, he was the conductor for Radio Zurich until 1967, when he took over the Bern Symphony Orchestra from Paul Kletzki, where he stayed for 11 years.

While head of the Bern Symphony, he also conducted the National Symphony Orchestra of Mexico from 1973 to 1975, and Sweden’s Gothenburg Symphony from 1975 to 1978. Dutoit was principal guest conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra in the early 1980s.

In 1977, Dutoit became the artistic director of the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal (OSM). In the words of Glasgow-based music critic Kate Molleson: “A 20-year recording contract with Decca made the MSO the most recorded orchestra in the world, and the best of these recordings — Ravel’s La Valse and Daphnis et Chloe, Debussy’s La Mer, Stravinsky’s French-period ballets — remain unsurpassed.”

Dutoit has received more than 40 international awards and distinctions, including two Grammy Awards (United States), several Juno Awards (Canada), the Grand Prix du Président de la République (France), the Prix mondial du disque de Montreux (Switzerland), the Amsterdam Edison Award, the Japan Record Academy Award, and the German Music Critics’ Award. He and the OSM made many recordings for the Decca/London label.

Dutoit first conducted the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1980. From 1990 to 1999, he was music director of the orchestra’s summer concerts at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts. From 1990 to 2010, he was artistic director and principal conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra’s summer festival in Saratoga Springs, New York. In 1991, he was made an Honorary Citizen of the city of Philadelphia. In February 2007, Dutoit was named the orchestra’s chief conductor and artistic adviser, for a contract of four years, effective September 2008. Following the conclusion of his contract in Philadelphia in 2012, the orchestra named him its conductor laureate, as of the 2012–13 season.

Since 1990, Dutoit has directed the Pacific Music Festival in Japan. From 1991 to 2001, Dutoit was Music Director of the Orchestre National de France, with whom he made a number of recordings and toured extensively. In 1996, he was appointed principal conductor and in 1998 music director of Tokyo’s NHK Symphony Orchestra. For the NHK television network, he made a series of documentary films for the young people called “Cities of Music” in Venice, St Petersburg, Tokyo, Buenos Aires (plus Rio de Janeiro and Manhaus), New York, Vienna, Budapest, Leipzig, Dresden, Paris and London. In 1997, he was made an honorary Officer of the Order of Canada. He is also one of a handful of non-Canadian citizens to be a Grand Officer of the Ordre national du Québec.

In April 2007, Dutoit was named principal conductor and artistic director of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra as of 2009. In October 2019 he was scheduled to stand down as the RPO’s principal conductor and to take the title of Honorary Conductor for Life of the orchestra, but instead he resigned in January 2018. Between 2009 and 2017, Dutoit also served as the music director of the Verbier Festival Orchestra in Switzerland. In April 2014, Dutoit received the Lifetime Achievement Award by the International Classical Music Awards. He was also made an honorary member of Fondation Igor Stravinsky in Geneva and Fondation Ravel in Monfort l’Amaury, France. In September 2018, Dutoit was named principal guest conductor of the St Petersburg Philharmonic, effective May, 2019.

Dutoit conducts Brahms & Berlioz – with Kyung Wha Chung
Dutoit conducts Tchaikovsky & Brahms – with Martha Argerich
20 July 2012 DUTOIT, JÄRVI
Dutoit conducts Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5 – Järvi conducts Dvorák's Symphony No. 9
Dutoit, the Capuçon brothers & Honeck perform Brahms
VFO, VFCO / Dutoit, Takács-Nagy & Zacharias conduct Berlioz, Haydn, & Bizet
16 July 2010 HARDING & DUTOIT
Harding & Dutoit conduct Prokofiev, Britten & Stravinsky