Charles Dutoit to head orchestra

Posted: February 23, 2007

Charles Dutoit, a frequent Philadelphia Orchestra guest conductor since 1980, has been named to succeed its departing music director, Christoph Eschenbach.

Dutoit - former leader of orchestras in Montreal and Japan - will assume the newly created title of chief conductor and artistic adviser for four seasons, beginning in September of 2008.

Dutoit has been the orchestra's music director at the Saratoga summer season, which he will continue, and will also lead eight weeks in each subscription season.

He also has an option to lead the orchestra's upcoming residency at the Vail, Colo., Music Festival. The Swiss-born maestro is considered a wise choice by the orchestra board, considering his longtime rapport with the musicians, who were involved in the selection process.

"He brings with him not only a wealth of history with the orchestra but a creative and lively artistic energy," said orchestra association president James Undercofler in a statement."I am particularly pleased that this appointment comes with the full support of the orchestra musician leadership."

"I look forward to the opportunity to make music with them more often for Philadelphia audiences and to being a part of Philadelphia's rich musical community," Dutoit said in the same statement.

Dutoit, who guest-conducts throughout the world, was surely disappointed not to have been offered the post in 2003, the last time the job was open. His selection gives the orchestra both stability and a longtime period of considering younger guest conductors for the future. *

E-mail Tom Di Nardo at dinardt@phillynews.com.

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