Famed Chicago Symphony guest conductor accused in sex scandal

Reports emerge alleging conductor Charles Dutoit sexually assaulted four musicians

Three singers of opera, and a musician close to the conductor Charles Dutoit of sexual assault.

In an earlier comment, the orchestra said as far as it knows, claimants have not commenced "formal legal proceedings".

The women accuse the man of 81 years and the principal conductor of the royal philharmonic Orchestra of London of sexual misconduct in the margin of the rehearsals and concerts in five cities - Chicago, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, and Saratoga Springs, in the State of NY.

"Charles Dutoit is one of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra's (RPO) titled conductors joining the Orchestra for approximately 30 concerts each year".

"This decision is the result of the serious nature of the allegations, internal and external discussions, and the San Francisco Symphony's strong commitment to a zero tolerance policy for sexual harassment in the workplace", symphony officials said in a statement today. He is scheduled to conduct the New York Philharmonic next month.

"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 organization said in a statement, adding that Dutoit must be given "a fair opportunity to seek legal advice and contest these accusations". Dutoit also did not respond to multiple requests for comment from the AP.

Four women, including two who wish to remain anonymous for fear of being blacklisted by the classical music industry, spoke to Associated Press with their accusations.

The Swiss-born Dutoit made his conducting debut in 1959 after a spell as a viola player, and has had a long and distinguished career since, winning two Grammy awards, and stints in other prestigious orchestras across the world.

A former member of the orchestra said the woman spoke to him at the time about Dutoit, recalling she felt "utter disgust" at his advances.

"There is nothing wrong with him as a musician, said the woman". A stage manager followed her - "I guess I looked shocked", she said - and asked her, "Do you want to report this?" The women were all said to have resisted and fled.

Scheduled engagements with other orchestras in New York, Cleveland, Boston, San Francisco and Sydney also have been canceled, either by the conductor or by the orchestras themselves.

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

The women told The Associated Press that Dutoit physically restrained them, sometimes thrust his tongue into their mouths, and in one case stuck one of their hands down his trousers.

"We deplore the type of behavior described by Mr. Dutoit's accusers and we recognize our responsibility to be a forceful opponent of abuses of power", the Philadelphia Orchestra Association said. Earlier this month, the Metropolitan Opera suspended conductor James Levine when misconduct accusations surfaced.

Globetrotting conductor Charles Dutoit is being accused of sexual misconduct in numerous cities and locations-by several alleged victims including women in Chicago. They allege that the former director of the Montreal symphony Orchestra has become stuck against them, that he was sometimes pushed his tongue into her mouth and, in one incident, he put the hand of the one in his trousers.

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