One of classical music’s highest honours, the Royal Philharmonic Society Gold Medal, has been awarded to the Swiss conductor Charles Dutoit. He becomes the 103rd recipient since the medal was founded in 1870 in celebration of the centenary of the birth of Beethoven (London’s Philharmonic Society commissioned Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and enjoyed a close association with the composer).
The medal will be presented to Charles Dutoit at the BBC Proms, on Thursday 17 August as part of a concert at the Royal Albert Hall (and live on BBC Radio 3) by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.* Charles Dutoit is Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and conducts a programme that includes Saint-Saëns’s 3rd Symphony, commissioned by the Philharmonic Society in 1886.
In awarding the medal, which bears the effigy of Beethoven and is awarded for the most outstanding musicianship, the Society said: “For over 50 years, Maestro Dutoit’s passion, energy, knowledge and uncompromising standards have demanded the highest level of performance from the musicians that he has conducted across five continents. He has a curiosity and determination to explore repertoire, respect for his musicians and an essential honesty to his music making. His advocacy for music education, particularly supporting and encouraging young conductors and soloists has engaged generations of performers”.
Charles Dutoit joins a distinguished list of current RPS Gold Medallists including Marta Argerich, Janet Baker, Daniel Barenboim, Alfred Brendel, Placido Domingo, Bernard Haitink, György Kurtag, Antonio Pappano, Thomas Quasthoff, Simon Rattle, András Schiff, John Tomlinson and Mitsuko Uchida.
Distinguished conductors previously awarded the RPS Gold Medal include: Thomas Beecham; Bruno Walter; Arturo Toscanini; Felix Weingartner; Adrian Boult; John Barbirolli; Herbert von Karajan; Leonard Bernstein; Georg Solti; Colin Davis; Pierre Boulez; Claudio Abbado; Charles Mackerras and Nikolaus Harnoncourt.