Known for emphasizing collaboration, innovation, and community engagement, Kennedy Center President Deborah F. Rutter is considered one of the most influential arts administrators in the nation. As president of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Ms. Rutter is the artistic and administrative director of the world's busiest performing arts center, managing all facets of the facility, including expansive theater, contemporary dance, ballet, chamber music, and jazz seasons as well as its affiliates the National Symphony Orchestra and Washington National Opera and offerings in Hip Hop and contemporary music, and comedy.
The Center encompasses one of the nation's largest arts education programs, reaching millions of people of all ages each year, and includes VSA, the international organization on arts and disability, and this year the addition of Turnaround Arts, in partnership with the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities. Deborah F. Rutter became president of the Kennedy Center on September 1, 2014, the third person to serve in this capacity, following Michael M. Kaiser (2001-2014) and Lawrence Wilker (1991-2001).
Rutter also served as president of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association (CSOA), employing her dynamic influence to further enhance the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's reputation as one of the world's most highly acclaimed orchestras. As CSOA president, Ms. Rutter oversaw the operations of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO), Symphony Center Presents, the Institute for Learning, Access and Training (including the Civic Orchestra of Chicago), the Chicago Symphony Chorus, and the management of the renowned Symphony Center facility, and its extensive presentations of chamber music, jazz, and eclectic performances from around the world.
From November 1992 until 2003, Rutter was the executive director of the Seattle Symphony and despite having a deficit when she joined, the Seattle Symphony had nearly tripled its annual budget to $25 million, had no accumulated deficit, and the endowment had grown six-fold to $24 million by her departure to the CSOA.
Rutter has been involved in a number of national and local cultural organizations and was a member of the board of Arts Alliance Illinois, Chicago's Grant Park Conservancy, the Solti Foundation, After School Matters, the Cultural Advisory Council for the City of Chicago, the Association of California Symphony Orchestras, and the prestigious Curtis Institute Board of Overseers. She was a board member and president of the Washington State Arts Alliance Board of Directors and chaired the Policy Committee for the League of American Orchestras.
Rutter is a graduate of Stanford University and holds an MBA from the University of Southern California. She was born in Pennsylvania and grew up in the Los Angeles area. She studied piano and violin from an early age, and she played violin with orchestras throughout her education.
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