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Kennedy Center Announces New President: Deborah Rutter of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra

By Louise Burton on Dec 11, 2013 01:44 AM EST

Deborah F. Rutter, the president of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association, has been appointed president of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., the Kennedy Center announced on Tuesday.

Rutter will become the Kennedy Center's third president, effective on September 1, 2014. She will succeed Michael M. Kaiser, who has led the Kennedy Center for the past 13 years.

Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein said, "The Kennedy Center is fortunate to have found in Deborah an individual with an undeniable passion for and knowledge of the performing arts; a long, well-respected track record of managing and enhancing performing arts organizations; and a commitment to making the performing arts accessible and appealing to people of all ages and backgrounds."

Rutter said "It is a true privilege to be asked to lead this unparalleled institution. The Kennedy Center represents the very best of American culture of all forms, and I am honored at the prospect of building on the great work of my predecessor, Michael Kaiser. As the nation's center for the performing arts, the Kennedy Center is a platform for declaring the importance of culture in our society; nurturing and celebrating the arts and artists in America as well as playing host to artists from around the world."

Rutter has been president of the CSO since 2003. Under her leadership, the CSO appointed Riccardo Muti as music director and Yo-Yo Ma as creative consultant. Together, they have ushered in a new era of exceptional artistry and innovative programming across a wide variety of musical genres. At the same time, the CSO has experienced record-breaking fundraising and ticket sales along with critical acclaim.

CSO Music Director Riccardo Muti praised Rutter's accomplishments in Chicago and predicted success for her in the nation's capital. "What Deborah has done in Chicago speaks of her strong commitment to the great importance of the arts and culture," Muti said. "I am happy that in this new position she will be able to share her deep love for music and the arts with the entire country. With friendship and respect, I offer all my best wishes knowing, from what she has accomplished in Chicago, that she will be very successful. The Kennedy Center will be an even stronger institution because of Deborah's leadership."

As president of the Kennedy Center, Rutter will be the artistic and administrative director of the world's busiest performing arts center. She will manage all aspects of the Center, including theater, contemporary dance, ballet, chamber music, and jazz seasons, as well as two major Kennedy Center affiliate groups: the National Symphony Orchestra and Washington National Opera.

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TagsDeborah F. Rutter, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Kennedy Center, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Michael M. Kaiser, David M. Rubenstein, Riccardo Muti

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