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  • Born

    7 October 1936 (age 82)

  • Born In

    Lausanne, Vaud, Switzerland

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.

Following in the footsteps of such luminaries as Otto Klemperer and Zubin Mehta, in 1977 Charles Dutoit became the Artistic Director of the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal (OSM). During his 25 years with the Montreal Symphony, he turned it into the finest orchestra in Canada and one of the best in the world. He has earned more than 40 international awards and distinctions, including two Grammy Awards (USA), 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 resigned from the Montreal Symphony in April, 2002 after a bitter dispute with the musicians' union.

Since 1990, he has been the artistic director and principal conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra's summer festival in Saratoga Springs, New York, and of the Pacific Music Festival in Japan. In 1991, he was made an Honorary Citizen of the city of Philadelphia.

From 1991 to 2001, Dutoit was Music Director of the Orchestre National de France, with whom he made a number of critically lauded recordings and toured extensively. In 1996, he was appointed principal conductor of Tokyo's NHK Symphony Orchestra. In 1997, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. He is also the only non-Canadian citizen to be a Grand Officer of the Ordre national du Québec.

In February 2007, he was named chief conductor and artistic adviser of The Philadelphia Orchestra; he had previously been a regular guest conductor for the orchestra, the announcement coming several days before a well-received program with pianist Martha Argerich. This is scheduled to be an interim position of 4 years, starting in September 2008, to give the orchestra more time to search for a new music director to replace Christoph Eschenbach.

In April 2007, Dutoit was named principal conductor and artistic director of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra as of 2009.

In October 2008, He was appointed Music Director of the Verbier Festival Orchestra from July 2009.

Dutoit shuns publicity and protects his private life from the media. He has been married and divorced three times, including a marriage to the world-renowned concert pianist, Martha Argerich, and to the economist Marie-Josée Drouin. His first marriage was to Ruth Cury, by whom he has a son, Ivan, who lives in Santa Monica, California with his family. He also has a daughter, Anne-Catherine, by his marriage to Argerich.

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