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Charles Dutoit

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Charles Édouard Dutoit (born October 7, 1936) is a Swiss conductor, particularly noted for his interpretations of French and Russian 20th century music. He has made influential modern recordings of Hector Berlioz’s Roméo et Juliette and Maurice Ravel’s ballets Daphnis et Chloe and Ma Mere l’Oye.

Dutoit was born in Lausanne, Switzerland, studied there and graduated from the Geneva Conservatory where he won first prize in conducting, then he went to the Music Academy in Siena by the invitation of Alceo Galliera. In his younger days, he frequently attended Ansermet’s reharsals and had a personal acquaintance with him. He also worked with Karajan at Lucerne as a member of the festival youth orchestra and studied with Charles Münch 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 eleven 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.

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