MEMETERIA by Thomas May

Music & the Arts

Changing of the Guard

Deborah F. Rutter; photo by Todd Rosenberg

Deborah F. Rutter; photo by Todd Rosenberg

This announcement really made my day: Deborah Rutter has been named the third (and first female) president in the history of the Kennedy Center. Her position will combine artistic and administrative leadership. Deborah takes over the reins from current president Michael M. Kaiser in September 2014.

I have a special attachment to the Kennedy Center. This was the home-away-from-home where I first experienced the live performing arts when I was growing up in the region. It’s amazing how vivid and imperturbable those early memories remain (even if the memories themselves are fluid and do shuffle and rearrange, as recent studies show). The thrill of going to symphony concerts and operas – still a rare adventure in those years – was enough to ignite a lifelong passion.

The KC board has really struck gold with its selection of Deborah Rutter. Her accomplishments with the Chicago Symphony – which she headed after serving for a decade as executive director of Seattle Symphony – are already legendary. This is someone who genuinely loves and knows music. Here’s a quick roundup of some of the first announcements and reactions, including speculation about what to expect under Deborah’s tenure, such as her digital media savvy:

Anne Midgette at the Washington Post

Charles Downey at Ionarts

Tim Smith at the Baltimore Sun

Robin Pogrebin at The New York Times

Brett Zongker at Huffpost Arts & Culture

Carol Ross Joynt at the Washingtonian

Filed under: music news


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