Deborah Rutter named Kennedy Center president, is first woman to hold job

WASHINGTON (AP) - Kennedy Center officials have for the first time chosen a woman to lead the national cultural and arts center.

Officials said Tuesday that Deborah Rutter, who is currently head of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, will become the Kennedy Center's president in September. She will be the first woman to lead the center since it opened in 1971. Rutter will succeed Michael Kaiser, who is stepping down in August after 13 years at the helm.

Rutter has led the Chicago Symphony for 10 years. She has boosted fundraising and recruited talented artists, including maestro Riccardo Muti as music director and cellist Yo-Yo Ma as creative consultant. She previously led the Seattle Symphony.

Kennedy Center Chairman David Rubenstein says Rutter has a unique set of skills the board wanted.

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