The Sydney Symphony Orchestra has released a statement following allegations that renowned Swiss conductor Charles Dutoit sexually assaulted four women in the USA between 1985 and 2010.

“We are extremely disturbed by the lengthy, detailed allegations published by Associated Press this morning against conductor Charles Dutoit,” the Orchestra said in a statement to Limelight.

Dutoit led the SSO in June this year in a concert performance of Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande and Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto with pianist Yuja Wang, and has been a regular visitor to Sydney since 1977.

“The Sydney Symphony Orchestra has a zero tolerance policy for anyone engaging in serious misconduct, including sexual harassment,” the statement said, “and we will not be engaging Mr. Dutoit as a guest conductor in the future.”

Since news of the allegations broke, a number of orchestras have distanced themselves from the 81-year-old conductor.

The Boston Symphony Orchestra, where Dutoit was guest conductor, has ended its relationship with him, while The San Francisco Symphony said it had “severed all ties” with Dutoit, who was scheduled to conduct there in April.

The New York Philharmonic, which Dutoit was scheduled to conduct in January, has said Dutoit has withdrawn from its concerts. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra has also said that Dutoit has withdrawn from its concerts next year, and stated: “The CSOA is committed to maintaining a workplace that is free from intimidation, coercion and harassment, including sexual harassment.”

The Philadelphia Orchestra (where Dutoit is conductor laureate) has said it “had no knowledge of these allegations” and that Dutoit had no future engagements with it.


Limelight, Australia's Classical Music and Arts Magazine