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Russian orchestra hires conductor accused of sexual abuse

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia — Russia’s oldest philharmonic orchestra says it has hired a Swiss conductor who has been the target of accusations of sexual misconduct.

The St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra said in a statement Thursday that it has hired Charles Dutoit as its new principal guest conductor and he will start in May next year.

Three opera singers and a musician in several interviews with the AP in December alleged that Dutoit, who then served as the musical director of Montreal’s philharmonic orchestra, sexually assaulted them between 1985 and 2010. Dutoit denied the allegations.

Several orchestras severed their ties with Dutoit following the reports.

A spokeswoman for the St. Petersburg orchestra would not comment on the allegations of sexual misconduct against Dutoit.