Dutoit was born in Lausanne, Switzerland, and graduated from the Conservatoire de musique de Genève. Then he went to the Accademia Chigiana in Siena by the invitation of Alceo Galliera. In his younger days, he frequently attended Ernest Ansermet's rehearsals and had a personal acquaintance with him. He also worked with Herbert von Karajan at Lucerne as a member of the festival youth orchestra and studied with Charles Munch at Tanglewood. Dutoit began his professional music career in 1957 as a viola player with various orchestras across Europe and South America. In January 1959, he made his debut as a professional conductor with an orchestra of Radio Lausanne and Martha Argerich.
In 1977, Dutoit became the Artistic Director of the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal (OSM). During his tenure, the recording profile and reputation of the OSM increased as he managed to make it one of the leading orchestras in the French-speaking world. Throughout these years, he called for a new symphony concert hall for Montréal. Unfortunately, the promise would never materialize during his nearly 25 years at the helm of the OSM. His association with the OSM ended abruptly in controversy in 2002, when some OSM musicians objected to the work environment created by Dutoit
From 1990 to 1999, he was music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra's summer concerts at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts. Since 1990, he has been the artistic director and principal conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra's summer festival in Saratoga Springs, New York.
From 1991 to 2001, Dutoit was Music Director of the Orchestre National de France, with whom he made a number of critically lauded recordings and toured extensively.
In April 2007, Dutoit was named principal conductor and artistic director of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra .
In April 2014, Dutoit received the Lifetime Achievement Award by the International Classical Music Awards. He was also made an honorary member of Fondation Igor Stravinsky in Geneva.
In February 2016, Charles Dutoit will make an extraordinary and unexpected return to the helm of the OSM for two concerts presented by the MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE festival. Making his first appearance in the new symphony concert hall that he so avidly sought for so long.
He has been married four times, including a marriage to the world-renowned concert pianist Martha Argerich, to the economist Marie-Josée Drouin, and to Canadian violinist Chantal Juillet. Source: Wikipedia