The Vip Lounge

For maestro Charles Dutoit, home is his favorite destination

Winslow Townson

With homes in Switzerland, Paris, Buenos Aires, Singapore, and Montreal, conductor Charles Dutoit is certainly well-traveled. One of the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s most popular guest conductors since his debut with the orchestra in 1981, Dutoit will be back with the BSO, performing at Tanglewood with featured pianist Emanuel Ax, on Aug. 12. The 79-year-old maestro, who was born in Lausanne, Switzerland, is married to violinist Chantal Juillet, and has two children and four grandchildren, said he loves performing with the BSO. “Besides being a magnificent orchestra, I have known them since my student days at Tanglewood, and have always cherished this aspect of the relationship with them,” he said. “In other words, a very affectionate one.” Dutoit was recently named the 2016 Koussevitzky Artist, an honorary title given by the BSO in recognition of his commitment to the 2016 Tanglewood season and longtime contributions to the BSO and other orchestras around the world. We caught up with Dutoit, the artistic director and principal conductor of London’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, to talk about all things travel.

Favorite vacation spot? Home, because I travel 320 days a year around the world. So I enjoy spending a few days at home whenever I can.

Favorite food or drink while vacationing? Everything related to Italian cuisine and its wine.


Where would you like to travel to but haven’t? Tristan Da Cunha [a remote volcanic island in the South Atlantic Ocean]. I have traveled extensively in my life; in fact, I have visited 196 countries. But there are still a few spots difficult to access that I would like to see.

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One item you can’t leave home without when traveling? I always travel prepared, so as many travel guides as possible.

Aisle or window? Aisle, so I can get up without disturbing others.

Favorite childhood travel memory? When I was 13 years old, my first trip from Geneva to Paris on my own.

Guilty pleasure when traveling? Exploring as much of the unexplorable as possible.


Best travel tip? To be open-minded and to avoid traveling with perceived ideas, [without] comparing these places with “home.”