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Royal Philharmonic Orchestra responds to allegations about Charles Dutoit

Sexual assault accusations have been made by three opera singers and a classical musician.

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra has responded to accusations of inappropriate conduct made against Charles Dutoit, saying its principal conductor has been released “from his forthcoming concert obligations with the orchestra for the immediate future”.

In a statement, it said that the orchestra (RPO) and Dutoit have “jointly agreed” to release the world-renowned conductor to “allow time for a clear picture to be established”.

It comes after symphonies in Boston and San Francisco in the US and Sydney in Australia severed ties with Dutoit, following sexual assault accusations made by three opera singers and a classical musician to The Associated Press.

Classical orchestras in New York, Chicago and Cleveland have also announced that the Swiss-born 81-year-old has withdrawn his services for forthcoming concerts.

Dutoit was appointed artistic director and principal conductor of the RPO,  billed as “Britain’s national orchestra”, in 2009 after a decades-long association with the orchestra.

The RPO said in a statement: “As a leading international ensemble, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is committed to the highest standards of ethical behaviour…

“The Orchestra takes very seriously its responsibility to maintain a safe working environment for all its artists, musicians and staff.

“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 immediate action taken by the RPO and Charles Dutoit allows time for a clear picture to be established. Charles Dutoit needs to be given a fair opportunity to seek legal advice and contest these accusations.”

The Associated Press story had accounts by four women, who alleged that Dutoit attacked them on the sidelines of rehearsals and performances with orchestras in five cities — Chicago, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Philadelphia and Saratoga Springs, New York.

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

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