Charles Dutoit, a longtime guest conductor with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, is stepping down early from his role as artistic director and principal conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London after several women accused him of sexual assault, including one at Tanglewood.
In a statement, the RPO’s board said it held an emergency meeting with Dutoit during which it was decided he should resign effective immediately rather than wait until October 2019, which is when he had planned to leave.
“This decision has been made following allegations of inappropriate conduct by Mr. Dutoit,” the statement read. “Whilst Mr. Dutoit continues to seek legal counsel to defend himself, the protracted uncertainty and media reporting makes Mr. Dutoit’s position with the 0rchestra untenable. The RPO is committed to the highest standards of ethical behaviour and takes very seriously its responsibility to maintain a safe working environment for all its artists, musicians and staff.”
The Globe last week reported the allegations of a former intern who says the acclaimed BSO guest conductor sexually assaulted her at Tanglewood 20 years ago. It was the first accusation against Dutoit alleging sexual misconduct while he was working with the BSO. The orchestra has since launched an investigation.
Fiona Allan, who now runs the Birmingham Hippodrome in England, said she was working as an intern at the Tanglewood music festival in Lenox in 1997 when she walked into Dutoit’s dressing room alone to deliver some papers. Minutes later, she said, Dutoit began groping her.
Allan is one of several women who’ve accused the Swiss-born conductor of sexual improprieties. Her account is similar to those of four women who last month told the Associated Press the conductor had sexually assaulted them in various cities between 1985 and 2010, allegations that include forcible kissing, groping, and, in one instance, shoving a woman’s hand down his pants.