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Charles Dutoit shut out of 7 symphonies amid sexual assault accusations

Charles Dutoit shut out of 7 symphonies amid sexual assault accusations
From CBC - December 22, 2017

Symphonies in Boston, San Francisco and Sydney have severed ties with world-renowned conductor Charles Dutoit.

Meanwhile, classical orchestras in New York, Chicago and Cleveland announced that he's withdrawn his services for upcoming concerts, including at the Royal Philharmonic in London,where currentlyDutoit serves as artistic director and principal conductor.

The reaction has been swift in the classical music world, following graphic sexual assault accusations made by three opera singers and a classical musician to The Associated Press.

As symphonies around the globe reacted to the detailed accounts, accusations surfaced about Dutoit's decades-long reputation for inappropriate behaviour.

Joe Kluger, former president of The Philadelphia Orchestra from 1989 to 2005, told The AP that Dutoit's reputation as "extremely flirtatious" was one factor that caused the organization to pass him over twice for the job of music director during those years.

He said rumours of Dutoit's "inappropriate behaviour with women were common knowledge in the classical music business." He added: "I do recall telling our staff to be wary around him and encouraged them to report any inappropriate behaviour immediately."

Kluger said he was unaware of any formal complaints filed about Dutoit by musicians or staff members. He said he had never heard that Dutoit had assaulted women.

Longtime head of Montreal Symphony

PascaleOuimet, spokespersonfor the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, whereDutoitserved as music director for nearly 25 years until 2002, said he had no comment on the allegations.

Dutoit'slong relationship with Montreal came to an acrimonious end in 2002, following a dispute with the musicians' union, but he returned to the city to conduct the MSOfor a pair of sold-out concerts in February 2016.

NatashaGauthier, a writer based in Ottawa, saidDutoit'sreputation as a womanizer was common knowledge in the Montreal classical music world and she even wrote about her own unwanted encounter with the conductor in 1995 for a prominent weekly magazine.

From @AP : "The MSO says it has not heard of any allegations concerning Mr. Dutoit's behaviour during his tenure as Montreal's orchestra conductor."

@ottawanag

Holy crap y'all. I wrote about Dutoit harassing me while I was interviewing him back in the 90s. This was published in mainstream media. Nobody did not believe me. Nothing happened to him. https://t.co/ckaU60fHxl

@ottawanag

She described how she arrived in his dressing room for an interview only to have him snatch away her notebook, then lean in, putting his hand on her knee while trying to give her a massage. She said he asked about her marital status.GauthierquotedDutoitas saying he would not speak to her for the story when he learned she had been inquiring about his reputation.

She did not expect him to be fired as a result of the story, but she was stunned by the silence from orchestra management.

"Nobody doubted that this had happened just as I had described,"Gauthiersaid, "but I am the one who got blacklisted."

No formal complaints filed

All four accusers told the AP they never filed formal complaints because they were young and Dutoit was the maestro; they figured they would lose their jobs, not him.

The AP story published Thursday included detailed accounts by the four women, who said Dutoit attacked them on the sidelines of rehearsals and performances with orchestras in five citiesChicago, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Philadelphia and Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

They said the incidents occurred between 1985 and 2010 in a variety of places, including a moving car, Dutoit's dressing room, a hotel elevator and his suite at the Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago.

Royal Philharmonic cuts Dutoit loose

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