Rutter, who currently serves as the president of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association, will begin serving as the president Sept. 1, 2014. She will succeed Michael M. Kaiser, who will step down from the position Aug. 31.
In her new position, Rutter will be the artistic and administrative director, managing the Kennedy Center's theatre, contemporary dance, ballet, chamber music and jazz seasons, as well as its affiliates the National Symphony Orchestra and Washington National Opera.
The Kennedy Center also encompasses one of the nation's largest arts education programs and includes VSA, the international organization on arts and disability.
"It is a true privilege to be asked to lead this unparalleled institution," Rutter said in a statement. "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."
Rutter's work at the CSO and in her past positions, including the Seattle Symphony, included spearheading arts programming that encompassed a variety of theatre, dance and music. She introduced non-classical music presentations and initiated the building of a new home for the symphony, Benaroya Hall, in Seattle. Under her leadership in Chicago, the CSO continued to present internationally known guest artists in jazz, pop, world and classical music, as well as introducing Beyond the Score, a series that combines theatre, music and visual elements to draw audiences in the spirit of a work.
"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," Kennedy Center chairman David M. Rubenstein said in a statement. "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."
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