Just in: Charles Dutoit resigns from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

Just in: Charles Dutoit resigns from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra


norman lebrecht

January 10, 2018

The Swiss conductor, accused of sexual molestation, has relinquished the last of his positions.

Dutoit, 81, continues to maintain his innocence.

Press release:
Following an emergency Board meeting and further dialogue with Charles Dutoit, the RPO and Charles Dutoit have together decided to bring forward his resignation from his role as Artistic Director and Principal Conductor. Charles Dutoit had already announced in June 2017 that he would stand down in October 2019; this will now take place with immediate effect.    

This decision has been made following allegations of inappropriate conduct by Mr Dutoit, which were first reported on 21 December 2017. 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. 

The RPO is committed to the highest standards of ethical behaviour and takes very seriously its responsibility to maintain a safe working environment for all its artists, musicians and staff.


The RPO enjoys relationships with a roster of distinguished guest conductors who will undertake Charles Dutoit’s future projects with the Orchestra in London, the UK and internationally. Further details will be announced at www.rpo.co.uk in due course.</em


  • Wray Armstrong says:

    Tried and convicted by gossip and innuendo in the newspapers and blogs… what is the difference between this action and the witch-hunts of the middle ages, McCarthyism in the USA, and similar sorts of whispered campaigns against family, friends and neighbours in Stalinist Russia… was any legal proceeding involved in this bringing down of a great man? “The classical period of witch-hunts in Early Modern Europe and Colonial North America took place in the Early Modern period or about 1450 to 1750, spanning the upheavals of the Reformation and the Thirty Years’ War, resulting in an estimated 35,000 to 100,000 executions.” We used to have trial by jury… now it seems any sort of hysterical news report can lead to condemnation without any formal proceedings.

    • Olassus says:

      Also disturbing is that the above is not a joint statement, and the RPO does not apparently understand that one has no need of legal defense against allegations.

      • Andreas B. says:

        Mr Dutoit did declare he would seek legal advice and defend himself:


        • Olassus says:

          The RPO in any case did not need to point out what Dutoit is doing on the legal front. That was in the statement just to support the dismissal excuse of “protracted uncertainty and media reporting.” If the orchestra had had any backbone, it would have stood by its Artistic Director and Principal Conductor as long as he maintained his innocence, and cynically it might be added that the uncertainty and media reporting would have kept the RPO in the news and boosted sales.

          • Gabriel says:

            The RPO appears to have taken time to consider all angles.They are responsible for the care of perhaps a hundred people. Nothing here indicates anything other than a very human concern to protect those people and to move forward in a dignifield manner.

          • Olassus says:

            Protection from an 81-year-old. Got it.

        • David Hilton says:

          Well, this story indicates that Mr Dutoit has decided NOT to defend himself. Now that he has resigned all his principal positions, that’s the end of it. None of his accusers are presumably going to go the police about these allegations. What he needed to defend himself against was his employers attempting to wrongfully dismiss him, if the allegations are false. Resigning in the face of these charges is the exact opposite of defending himself.

    • Andreas B. says:

      after a carer of 60 years Mr Dutoit simply seems to have run out of people who would like to make music with him.

      it looks like he can spend a quiet and comfortable time in retirement with his family.
      or organise, promote and perform concerts himself – he’s not even been banned from performing by anybody, after all.

      I don’t understand where this is comparable to being “convicted” of anything, let alone to a witch hunt (which lead to “35,000 to 100,000 executions”, as you explained yourself) …

    • Iain Scott says:

      I think the thread above confirms how courageous it has been for women to come forward.
      Bravo to all of the women that have come forward. I am sure there will be many more. Conflating this story with McCarthyism is an insult to the victims of McCarthy and sexual abuse.
      If you want a different perspective go watch the Tracey Ullman sketch on rape.

    • Sue says:

      I completely agree with you!! We are watching an unfolding re-run of McCarthyism now from the outrage industry. Due process? I think not.

      In Australia in the last days we’ve seen multiple females go public on abuse in the theatre from Craig McLaughlin, who starred with them in “The Rocky Horror Show”. The ‘abuse’ occurred in 2014 and all the girls got together and discussed it, make a couple of complaints and decided it wasn’t worth the career damage. Can’t have it both ways folks. Creeps will continue to be creeps when they are enabled – for whatever reason.

    • MacroV says:

      You don’t seem to know the meaning of “gossip” and “innuendo”; actual women, giving their names, dates, and places came forward to report on Dutoit’s actions. A bunch of them. One problem in comparing it to McCarthyism is that there was nothing illegal or even appropriate about associating with (or being) a communist; America is a free country. Sexual harassment is clearly prohibited and many organizations have contracts that allow for termination for such behavior. More false equivalences.

      • Sue says:

        There was nothing ‘illegal’ about being a communist; sure. But tens and tens of thousands of your countrymen and women died to defend you from tyranny – the type found in Nazism and Communism. What a slap across the face to all those dead that was. I’ve always thought so. Playing with fashionable ideas that kill in their droves is appalling.

        • V says:

          Don’t forget to count the dead African slaves thrown overboard as useless cargo or beaten or worked to death on plantations and the native indians who died defending and fleeing their land too Sue.

          Sue shows contempt for the women who are brave enough to speak out against predators like Dutoit. They didn’t do it anonymously Sue. What would Sylvia McNair have to gain by coming out to denounce Dutoit? You seem to be very ignorant. Sylvia McNair doesn’t need to seek attention or limelight. She’s already a world class musician.

          Blaming the victims here and pouting behind PC accusations is a Lazy Susan spin move. We seek tolerance, good manners, and empathy. That’s all we ask from Sue.

    • harold braun says:

      Couldn´t agree more.

  • Pianofortissimo says:

    Some factual comments by a ‘celebrity’ who is also a great actress (avis rara):


  • Blyth H. says:

    An almost impossible situation, given the nature of our modern world.

    Obviously situations develop and orchestras have to think of their responsibility to the many musicians and their families.

    My full empathy for those souls dealing with a storm

    There will be a space and time for truth.

    Calm reflection is needed

  • herrera says:

    I’d love to lock Charles Dutoit and Catherine Deneuve alone in a room for an hour and see what Madame Deneuve still thinks of #metoo and #balancetonporc afterwards.

    (Unless she’s into Dutoit. Or he into her. No pun intended.)

  • Thomasina says:

    He is the honorary conductor of the NHK SO in Japan and the public opinions are divided into two in regard to his treatment. His next concerts are on December and they can not predict what will happen yet.

  • Hanna Nahan says:

    So he knows he’s guilty?

    • David Hilton says:

      That’s the conclusion most people will draw from his resignation, fairly or not. He needed to stand his ground, if he actually was innocent.

  • Rob says:

    What are Decca/Universal saying ?

    • Hilary says:

      Good point.
      It’s via Decca that many of us will have become acquainted with Dutoit.

    • Bruce says:

      Does he even record with them (or anyone) any more? I don’t buy CDs like I used to, so I haven’t kept track.

      • harold braun says:

        No,not since 2002,when he left Montreal.This move left him,and the OSM as well,without a permanent contract.In fact,he hasn´t recorded much since then,strangely.Only a Rimsky Korsakov disc with the RPO on Onyx and a Tchaik 5 with the Verbier Festival Orchestra on DVD,coming to my mind,now.

  • bookburningyesterdayandtoday says:

    Is the destruction of Dutoit’s recorded legacy next? All of you are hypocritical when you bring up record companies. They should all destroy their archives if morals and ethics are involved, especially DG. The Nazi past and continued money making off of that era. Karajan was a Nazi not once but twice. Stay away from musical legacies you hypocrites.

    • Sue says:

      Yes sir (clicks heels together)!

    • harold braun says:

      Spot on

    • Bruce says:

      Whatever. I’m keeping all my Dutoit CDs, all my Levine CDs, all my Karajan CDs, all my Wagner CDs (including those conducted by Levine and Karajan). I’m sure most of my CDs feature people of whom I would probably disapprove in some way if I knew more about them (with the possible exception of Andreas Brantelid 🙂 ).

    • Malcolm James says:

      What should the BBC do if it were reviewing, say, The Planets in Building a Library. This is one of Dutoit’s best known recording with OSM and would very likely be a contender. The best solution would presumably review all the versions on purely musical criteria and, if Dutoit were the best, to say so. However, they should also give a clear alternative for those unwilling to buy Dutoit’s recordings due to the allegations.

  • harold braun says:

    It´s truly like in McCarthy´s time.Anyone can loose his job,reputation,honorary titles etc.just because of some alligation,innuendo or name dropping.Innocence till proven guilty,one of the pillars of our law,or indeed ,any democratic law,has been sacrificed on an the altar of righteousness,bigotry,hypocrisy,self congratulating good do-ism,self importance,and,above all,attention seeking media sensationalism.Okay,so let´s go on and purge our arts of 75%of its output because their creators,according to rumors,have been morally questionable.Let´s clean our galleries,libraries,stages,churches,museums,concert halls.opera houses.And replace it by PC correct,morally “clean” 4th rate works by PC obedient hacks.A big chance for those less talented.We had such a thing in the country my families had to flee 1938.
    At least,there are some people who see the danger in this.Freedom of the arts has to be untouched!!!!http://edition.cnn.com/2018/01/10/europe/catherine-deneuve-france-letter-metoo-intl/index.html

  • Brian Worm says:

    Genuinely no matter if someone doesn’t understand afterwardits up to other viewers that they will help, so here itoccurs.