Kennedy Center names 1st woman to lead arts group, picks Chicago Symphony's Deborah Rutter - InfoNews

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Kennedy Center names 1st woman to lead arts group, picks Chicago Symphony's Deborah Rutter

Deborah Rutter, answers questions during a news conference in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013, after Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein announced the selection Rutter as a new president of the Kennedy Center. Rutter, currently the president of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, will led the cultural center and memorial to President John F. Kennedy, replacing Michael Kaiser who is stepping down next year after more then 13 years as president. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
December 10, 2013 - 12:43 PM

WASHINGTON - The head of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra was named the next president of the Kennedy Center and will become the first woman to lead the U.S performing arts centre, one of the world's busiest, since it opened in 1971, officials said Tuesday.

Deborah F. Rutter, 57, will join the Kennedy Center in September. Her selection was approved Monday by the centre's board. Rutter will succeed Michael Kaiser, who is stepping down in August after 13 years at the helm.

Rutter has led the Chicago Symphony since 2003. During that time, the orchestra recruited maestro Riccardo Muti, an acclaimed Italian conductor, as music director and cellist Yo-Yo Ma as creative consultant.

As an arts administrator, Rutter has distinguished herself as a prolific fundraiser who could recruit top talent and boost outreach to new audiences, said Kennedy Center Chairman David Rubenstein. An 11-member search team that included Caroline Kennedy seriously considered 15 to 25 candidates. The centre is memorial to her father, President John F. Kennedy.

"We interviewed many candidates, but we felt that Deborah Rutter had the unique combination of everything we wanted," Rubenstein said. Her biggest challenge, as with any arts centre, may be reaching younger and more diverse audiences, he said.

The Kennedy Center president serves as the artistic and administrative leader for extensive programs in theatre, dance, chamber music and jazz. She will also oversee the National Symphony Orchestra and Washington National Opera It also includes one of the nation's largest arts education programs.

Rutter, who agreed to a three-year contract, said she was drawn to the position because it presents an opportunity to use the arts "to impact the rest of the world."

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Kennedy Center: http://www.kennedy-centre.org

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Follow Brett Zongker on Twitter at https://twitter.com/DCArtBeat

News from © The Associated Press, 2013
The Associated Press

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