Throughout a career that has energetically spanned the globe and mined the riches of orchestral repertoire, Charles Dutoit has exhibited a passion for excellence and insatiable discovery. Renowned for polished and idiomatic interpretations of an eclectic array of musical styles, he regularly collaborates with the world's pre-eminent orchestras and soloists.
Since his debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1980, Charles Dutoit has been invited each season to conduct all the major orchestras of the United States, including those of Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Pittsburgh and Cleveland. He has also performed regularly with all the great orchestras of Europe, including the Berlin Philharmonic and Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw Orchestra as well as with all the London orchestras, the Israel Philharmonic and all the major orchestras of Japan, South America and Australia.
Charles Dutoit has also recorded extensively for Decca, Deutsche Grammophon, EMI, Philips, CBS, Erato and other labels with American, European and Japanese orchestras. His more than 170 recordings, half of them with the Montreal Symphony, have garnered more than 40 awards and distinctions around the world.
For 25 years (1977 to 2002), Charles Dutoit was Artistic Director of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, a dynamic musical partnership recognized the world over.
Since 1990, he has been Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra's summer festival at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in upstate New York. Between 1990 and 1999, he also directed the orchestra's summer series at the Mann Music Center in Philadelphia, and led them in a series of distinctive recordings.
From 1991 to 2001, Charles Dutoit was Music Director of the Orchestre National de France with whom he made a number of critically lauded recordings and toured extensively on the five continents.
In 1996, he was appointed Principal Conductor and in 1998, Music Director of the NHK Symphony Orchestra (Tokyo) with whom he has toured Europe 3 times, the United States, China and Southeast Asia.
When still in his early 20’s, Charles Dutoit was invited by Von Karajan to lead the Vienna State Opera. He has since conducted regularly at Covent Garden, the Metropolitan Opera and the Deutsche Oper in Berlin. He also led a highly acclaimed new stage production of Berlioz's masterpiece Les Troyens at the Los Angeles Music Center Opera.
In 2003, he started to conduct a cycle of Wagner’s operas, The Flying Dutchman and the complete Ring Cycle at the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires.
Charles Dutoit has always been interested in working closely with student orchestras and his frequent collaborations include the Orchestra of the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, the Julliard Orchestra in New York, the Civic Orchestra in Chicago and the UBS Verbier Festival Orchestra in Switzerland. He was Artistic Director of the Sapporo Pacific Music Festival for three seasons and is presently Music Director of the Miyazaki International Music festival in Japan and Music Director of the Canton international Summer Music Academy (CISMA) in Guangzhou (Canton), China.
He has made ten documentary films for NHK Television in Japan for a series entitled Cities of Music featuring ten musical capitals of the world.
In 1988, Charles Dutoit was invested as Officier, and in 1996 as Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the government of France. In 1991, he was made Honorary Citizen of the City of Philadelphia. In 1995, the government of Québec named him Grand Officier de l'Ordre national du Québec. He is the recipient of two awards by the Canadian Conference of the Arts, both in recognition of his distinguished service and exceptional contributions to music in Canada. In 1998, Charles Dutoit was invested as Honorary Officer of the Order of Canada, the country’s highest award of merit whose honorary recipients include John Kenneth Galbraith, James Hillier, Nelson Mandela, The Queen Mother, Vaclav Havel and Boutros Boutros-Ghali.
Charles Dutoit was born in Lausanne, Switzerland and his extensive musical training included violin, viola, piano, percussion, history of music and composition at the Conservatoires and Music Academies of Geneva, Siena, Venice and Boston.
A globetrotter motivated by his passion for history and archaeology, political science, art and architecture, Charles Dutoit has traveled and visited so far 172 countries.
He maintains residences in Switzerland, Paris, Montreal, Buenos Aires and Tokyo.