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SF Symphony cans Charles Dutoit following sex abuse report

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The San Francisco Symphony has canceled scheduled appearances by conductor Charles Dutoit.

The San Francisco Symphony has deleted accused sexual predator Charles Dutoit from its roster of upcoming guest performers.

In the wake of Thursday’s Associated Press report in which four women in various cities claimed the 81-year-old Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conductor assaulted them — some on more than one occasion between 1985 and 2010 — S.F. Symphony Director of Communications Oliver Theil issued a statement saying the orchestra has “severed all ties” with the conductor, due to the “serious nature of the allegations.”

The action affects Davies Hall concerts with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra slated for Jan. 28 with cellist Gautier Capuçon and Jan. 29 with pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet; and S.F. Symphony concerts in April featuring appearances by mezzo-soprano Susan Graham, pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet and female singers with the S.F. Symphony chorus.

In the AP report, three female opera singers and one instrumentalist recounted incidents in which Dutoit groped, restrained them or thrust himself upon them — in a car, his hotel suite, his dressing room, an elevator and backstage before a performance.

“He threw me against the wall, shoved my hand down his pants and shoved his tongue down my throat,” retired mezzo-soprano Paula Rasmussen told the AP, referencing a 1991 scene in the maestro’s dressing room at the Los Angeles Opera.

Grammy winning-soprano Sylvia McNair, 61, said Dutoit “tried to have his way” with her after a rehearsal at the Minnesota Orchestra in 1985, when she was 28.

An anonymous soprano said the conductor abused her in 2006 at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and in Philadelphia in 2010.

The fourth accuser, a musician at the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, was 24 in 2006 when Dutoit apparently made more than one unwanted advance.

Dutoit has been married four times: to his current wife violinist Chantal Juillet, famed pianist Martha Argerich, economist Marie-Josée Drouin and Ruth Cury.

Earlier this month, conductor James Levine was suspended by New York’s Metropolitan Opera, which is investigating complaints he had sexual encounters with teen boys.

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— Staff, wire reports

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