Since his debut as a professional conductor in the 1950s with the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra and Martha Argerich, Charles Dutoit (b. 1936 in Lausanne) has established his reputation as one of the most outstanding conductors of our time. When he was only 20, he was invited by Herbert von Karajan to conduct a performance of Manuel de Falla’s ballet The Three-Cornered Hat at the Wiener Staatsoper. Since then he has appeared as guest conductor at the Royal Opera House in London, the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the Deutsche Oper in Berlin, the Los Angeles Opera, the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, and many others.
From 1967 to 1977 he was Principal Conductor of the Bern Symphony Orchestra, subsequently serving as Artistic Director of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra for 25 years from 1977 to 2002, elevating it to one of the world’s finest orchestras. He was music director of the Orchestre National de France from 1991 to 2001 and of the NHK Tokyo Symphony Orchestra from 1998 to 2003. He has been Principal Conductor and Artistic Director of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of London since 2009. He has conducted the Philadelphia Orchestra since 1980 and has held the position of Conductor Emeritus since 2012. He has been guest conductor of major American orchestras in Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and Pittsburgh, as well as orchestras in London, Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam, Zurich, Munich, Moscow, Sydney, Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai. He has served at various times as artistic director of the Sapporo and Miyazaki Music Festivals, the Verbier Festival Orchestra (where he is currently Conductor Emeritus), the Guangzhou Music Academy, and the Lindenbaum Festival in Seoul. He has toured China more than 32 times, performing Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring and Britten’s War Requiem. As of the 2018/2019 season, he has been appointed by the St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra as Principal Guest Conductor with four concerts per season. Dutoit, who is an accomplished interpreter of French music, is renowned and prodigious for his detailed score work, sound and stylistics.
He received his musical training in violin, viola, piano, percussion, composition and conducting at the Conservatories of Lausanne and Geneva. He specialized with Alceo Galliera in Siena and Charles Munch in Tanglewood.
He has been nominated ten times for the Grammy Award for his recordings with Decca, Deutsche Grammophon, EMI, Philips and Erato, has received it twice, has over 50 other awards with the orchestras he has conducted and over 40 personal awards. He has been made an Honorary Chevalier of the Order of Canada and received the National Order of Quebec, a rare distinction for foreigners. He has been made an Honorary Citizen of Philadelphia, a Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters of the French Government. In 2014, he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the International Classical Music Awards. In 2007, he received Médaille d’Or de la Ville de Lausanne (the gold medal of Lausanne). He holds honorary doctorates from McGill University in Montreal and the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. In 2017, he became the recipient of the Royal Philharmonic Society Gold Medal Award founded in 1870 on the occasion of Beethoven’s centenary.