Deborah F. Rutter Named President of Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
David M. Rubenstein, Chairman of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, today announced the selection of Deborah F. Rutter as the next Kennedy Center president. Ms. Rutter currently serves as the President of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association and will assume her Kennedy Center duties on September 1, 2014. She will serve as the Kennedy Center's third president, following Michael M. Kaiser who will step down from the position on August 31, 2014.
"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," stated Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein. "I applaud Michael Kaiser for his 13 years of leadership and look forward to watching Deborah bring her unique experiences and interests to this position."
Ms. Rutter stated, "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. I thank the search committee and especially its co-chairs David Rubenstein and Tony Welters, for their commitment and the significant dialogue we had in the course of the last few months. I am incredibly excited about the future of this institution and the opportunity to work with its great artists and leaders: Christoph Eschenbach, Suzanne Farrell, Jason Moran, Francesca Zambello, as well as the Kennedy Center's many talented staff, volunteers, and supporters."
Known for emphasizing collaboration, innovation, and community engagement Ms. Rutter is considered one of the most influential arts administrators in the nation. Under her leadership, the CSOA named legendary conductor Maestro Riccardo Muti as the orchestra's music director and renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma as creative consultant. In collaboration, they have ushered in a new era of exceptional artistry and innovative programming-across a wide variety of musical genres-ranging from a performance of Verdi's Requiem enjoyed by more than 100,000 people through live simulcast and internet streaming to innovative education and training programs for people of all ages. At the same time, the CSO has experienced record-breaking fundraising and ticket sales along with critical acclaim.
"Deborah Rutter has a vision for the role of the performing arts in society that closely mirrors John F. Kennedy's words: 'The life of the arts, far from being an interruption, a distraction, in the life of a nation, is close to the center of a nation's purpose-and is a test to the quality of a nation's civilization.' Today these words seem even more prescient, and I look forward to Deborah putting her great skills, experience and creativity to work in fulfilling the promise of these words in our nation's Performing Arts Center," said Yo-Yo Ma.
Bill Osborn, former chairman of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra remarked, "I've dealt with many executives in the business world, in academia, and in the non-profit community, and Deborah is one of the best. She would be a top executive in any field, with a rare talent for strategic vision as well as detailed execution and administration. She understands the challenges and opportunities facing arts organizations and is very creative about developing a path forward-like using social media and technology in different ways. She will be a great asset to the Kennedy Center."
Riccardo Muti, music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, stated, "What Deborah has done in Chicago speaks of her strong commitment to the great importance of the arts and culture. 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."