At the end of June, with the close of the 2013/14 season, Deborah F. Rutter, who became president of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association in 2003, departs to take
on a national role as president of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Following are some of the numerous tributes that she has received from members of the CSO family since announcing her new position:
RICCARDO MUTI, MUSIC DIRECTOR DESIGNATE, 2009–2010; MUSIC DIRECTOR, 2010—
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.
PIERRE BOULEZ, PRINCIPAL GUEST CONDUCTOR, 1995–2006; HELEN REGENSTEIN CONDUCTOR EMERITUS, 2006–
I have known Deborah Rutter for much of her career — first in Los Angeles and continuing through her years as president of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association. Deborah embraces the values that are very important to me, especially the desire to continue to infuse the orchestral repertoire with new works, and to ensure generations of audiences and musicians for the future. In her time with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, she supported and allowed experimentation and risk-taking to make the concert experience ever more vibrant and responsive to the evolution of our society. She is dedicated to ensuring that future generations have the music of the past, present and future in their lives. I know that she brings these values to the Kennedy Center in Washington, and wish her well in her new position.
YO-YO MA, JUDSON AND JOYCE GREEN CREATIVE CONSULTANT, 2010–
I feel grateful and privileged to have had the opportunity to work with Deborah Rutter at the CSOA over the last five years. Through her leadership and unwavering commitment, Deborah has not only reinforced the CSO’s musical and cultural importance, but she also has helped to strengthen it as an institution. She and her team have worked tirelessly in further opening the walls of Symphony Center by strengthening the CSOA’s role in our community; working closely with the Institute for Learning, Access and Training; launching the Citizen Musician Initiative; participating in the development of the Chicago Cultural Plan, and collaborating in a city-wide effort to make the arts part of the core curriculum of the Chicago Public Schools. Throughout all of this, her unfailingly gracious style has been refreshing and encouraging. In her new role at Kennedy Center, she is not just leaving the CSOA, she is continuing its work as she brings its values to a national platform.
BERNARD HAITINK, PRINCIPAL CONDUCTOR, 2006–2010
I am very grateful to Deborah for the large part she played during my period as principal conductor of the CSO from 2006 to 2010. She was the person who brought me back to Chicago after a long absence, and convinced me to take a larger role with the Orchestra for those years. It was a very happy period for me, and I have particularly fond memories of the two European tours and the Far East tour, which we undertook together, as well as the Beethoven Festival in Chicago. Much of that was made possible by her energetic leadership, together with the support of Bill Osborn and other wonderful members of the CSO “Supporters’ Club,” as I think of them. In her years with the CSO, she has been a bridge between the artists and the community they serve, showing the importance of one to the other. We are all grateful for that.
STEVE LESTER, CHAIRMAN, MEMBERS COMMITTEE, CHICAGO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
The members of the Orchestra congratulate Deborah Rutter on her new position as president of the Kennedy Center. We thank her for 11 years of great accomplishments with the CSO, and for her wonderful leadership. Being at the center of a great orchestral institution and mediating the many different aspirations of trustees, staff, musicians, donors, patrons and the community is not an easy task. Deborah Rutter proved equal to the challenge, and, as a result, the Orchestra is in much better shape now than 11 years ago. We wish her continued success in her new position.
JAY L. HENDERSON, CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES, 2012–
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association will always be grateful for the leadership of Deborah Rutter. She has set a stellar example and a strong foundation for the CSO in the years to come. From recruiting the incomparable Riccardo Muti, to developing new audiences for the CSO, to helping the Orchestra forge even stronger bonds with the community, to breaking records in ticket sales and fund-raising, she has provided outstanding, visionary leadership. I know the entire Board of Trustees joins me in thanking Deborah and in wishing her all happiness and success in her new role at the Kennedy Center.
WILLIAM A. OSBORN, CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES, 2006-2012
Deborah Rutter has been a fantastic leader of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association over the past 11 years. She has elevated the CSOA to the highest levels among the world’s best orchestras. Her warm style in managing the various constituencies of the CSO — musicians, staff, board and patrons — along with her strong financial acumen led to our tremendous success. Plus, she brought to us Riccardo Muti, the best music director on the planet. Bravo, Deborah, and all the best.
WILLIAM H. STRONG, CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES, 2001–2006
I could not have been happier when Deborah accepted our offer in 2003 to join the CSOA as its president. Deborah brought to us not only a keen understanding of the classical music business and its participants, but more importantly, she also brought to us a bold, innovative vision for the future of the CSO. Her dedicated efforts over the past 11 years have played a key role in the CSO’s realizing that vision. Deborah, thank you!