Charles Dutoit, the 81-year-old conductor and artistic director of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London, has been accused of sexual assault by six female musicians.
The orchestra has released a statement saying that it, along with Dutoit, “have jointly agreed to release him from his forthcoming concert obligations with the orchestra for the immediate future,” adding that it is “committed to the highest standards of ethical behaviour”.
“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,” the statement continues. “Charles Dutoit needs to be given a fair opportunity to seek legal advice and contest these accusations.”
He has been sacked from other positions at the San Francisco Symphony, the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, while orchestras in New York, Chicago and Cleveland have all cancelled appearances from him.
Dutoit has responded to the allegations, calling them “shocking... I do not recognize the man or the actions being described in the media.
“Whilst informal physical contact is commonplace in the arts world as a mutual gesture of friendship, the serious accusations made involving coercion and forced physical contact have absolutely no basis in truth.” He added that he was taking legal advice and would defend himself against the accusations.