Having recently received one of classical music’s highest honors, the Royal Philharmonic Society Gold Medal, Charles Dutoit becomes the 103rd recipient since the award was founded in 1870 in celebration of the centenary of Beethoven’s birth.
Presently artistic director and principal conductor of London’s Royal Philharmonic, Mr. Dutoit has captivated audiences throughout the world and is one of today’s most sought-after conductors, having performed with all the major orchestras on most stages of the five continents. Following an artistic collaboration with The Philadelphia Orchestra that has spanned 32 years, the Orchestra bestowed upon him the title of conductor laureate. He performs every season with the orchestras of Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles and is also a regular guest on the stages in London, Berlin, Paris, Munich, Moscow, Sydney, Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Tokyo, among others. His more than 200 recordings for Decca, Deutsche Grammophon, EMI, Philips, and Erato have garnered multiple awards and distinctions including two Grammys.
For 25 years Mr. Dutoit was artistic director of the Montreal Symphony, a dynamic musical team recognized the world over. From 1991 to 2001 he was music director of the Orchestre National de France, and in 1996 he was appointed principal conductor and soon thereafter music director of the NHK Symphony in Tokyo. He is today music director emeritus of that orchestra. He was for 10 years music director of The Philadelphia Orchestra’s season at the Mann Center, and for 21 years at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.
Mr. Dutoit’s interest in the younger generation has always held an important place in his career and he has successively been music director of the Sapporo Pacific Music Festival and the Miyazaki International Music Festival in Japan, as well as the Canton International Summer Music Academy in Guangzhou, China, and the Lindenbaum Festival in Seoul, South Korea. Music director of the Verbier Festival Orchestra from 2009 to 2017, he is now conductor emeritus. When still in his early 20s, Mr. Dutoit was invited by Herbert von Karajan to conduct at the Vienna State Opera. He has since conducted at Covent Garden, the Metropolitan Opera, the Deutsche Oper in Berlin, Rome Opera, and the Teatro Colón in Bnos Aires.
In 1991 Mr. Dutoit was made an Honorary Citizen of the City of Philadelphia. In 1995 he was named Grand Officier de l’Ordre National du Québec, and in 1996 Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the government of France. In 1998 he was invested as an Honorary Officer of the Order of Canada. In 2007 he received the Gold Medal of the city of Lausanne, his birthplace, and in 2014 he was given the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Classical Music Awards.
Mr. Dutoit holds Honorary Doctorates from McGill University, the University of Montreal, Laval University, and the Curtis Institute of Music. A globetrotter motivated by his passion for history and archaeology, political science, art, and architecture, he has traveled in all 196 nations of the world.
Photo by Priska Ketterer