Dutoit succeeds Daniele Gatti, who steps down as the orchestra's music director when his contract expires in the summer of 2009. The position has an illustrious pedigree: the list of the Royal Philharmonic's previous principal conductors includes Thomas Beecham (who founded the orchestra), Rudolf Kempe, Antal Doršti, Walter Weller, Andr_ Previn and Vladimir Ashkenazy.
The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, currently celebrating its 60th anniversary season, gives regular concert series at the Royal Albert Hall and Cadogan Hall in London and maintains a busy international touring schedule as well.
The Swiss-born Dutoit, now 70, does not currently hold a music director post. He served as principal conductor of the Orchestre national de France from 1991 to 2001 and of the NHK Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo from 1996 to 2003. Most famously, he spent a quarter-century (1977-2002) as music director of the Montreal Symphony, bringing the orchestra worldwide renown and making a number of award-winning recordings.