Charles Dutoit. San Francisco Symphony
Charles Dutoit. (San Francisco Symphony)

Replacement at Podium Named After Sexual Misconduct Charges

Replacement at Podium Named After Sexual Misconduct Charges

On Dec. 22, the Associated Press published a report detailing sexual misconduct allegations against Swiss-born, 81-year-old conductor Charles Dutoit of London's Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. The allegations against Dutoit, which span from 1985 to 2010, come from four different women who accuse him of physically restraining and forcibly kissing and touching them.

Since the allegations came to light, various orchestras associated with Dutoit -- including the San Francisco Symphony, Boston Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, and Chicago Symphony Orchestra -- cancelled his upcoming appearances and, in some cases, issued statements cutting all ties with him.

Thierry Fischer of the Utah Symphony will replace Charles Dutoit at Royal Philharmonic Orchestra's San Francisco Symphony performances on Jan. 28 and 29.
Thierry Fischer of the Utah Symphony will replace Charles Dutoit at the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra's San Francisco Symphony performances on Jan. 28 and 29, 2018. (Marco Borggreve)

Dutoit had been slated to conduct the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at San Francisco's Davies Symphony Hall on Jan. 28 and 29. Today, the San Francisco Symphony released a statement that Dutoit will be replaced by Thierry Fischer, principal conductor of the Utah Symphony. (KQED Arts reached out to Fischer, who declined to comment.)

The announcement came after the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra relieved Dutoit of all upcoming concert duties to allow "time for a clear picture to be established."

"These accusations are taken very seriously by the orchestra and the RPO believes that the truth of the matter should be determined by the legal process," their statement reads.

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In his own statement, Dutoit denied the allegations, writing, "the serious accusations made involving coercion and forced physical contact have absolutely no basis in truth.”

With Fischer as conductor, the program for Royal Philharmonic Orchestra's Davis Symphony Hall performance will remain unchanged. It includes Debussy’s Petite Suite, Stravinsky’s The Firebird, and Haydn’s Cello Concerto No. 1 on Jan. 28; and Respighi’s Fountains of Rome, Stravinsky’s Petrushka, and Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 2 on Jan. 29.

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