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CSO Association President to give Commencement address

Posted: 03/22/2013
Roosevelt University announced today that Deborah F. Rutter, president of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association and one of the nation’s best-known and most influential arts administrators, will speak at the University’s May 3 Commencement ceremonies and receive an honorary degree.

“The Chicago Symphony Orchestra has thrived under Deborah Rutter’s leadership and its reputation as one of the world’s most highly acclaimed orchestras has been further enhanced,” said Roosevelt University President Chuck Middleton.  “She believes that live concert music has the power to transform people’s lives and has reached out to new audiences through the Orchestra’s innovative Institute for Learning, Access and Training that engages more than 200,000 people every year.  We are delighted to present her with Roosevelt’s highest honor, a Doctor of Humane Letters degree, honoris causa.”

Rutter joined the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association as president in 2003, succeeding Henry Fogel, who is now dean of Roosevelt’s Chicago College of Performing Arts.
Twenty-four current or former CCPA faculty members are members of the CSO and more than a dozen others have performed with the CSO during their careers.
Rutter will speak at both the 10 a.m. Commencement ceremony for graduates of Roosevelt’s College of Arts and Sciences and Chicago College of Performing Arts, as well as the 2 p.m. ceremony for graduates of the Walter E. Heller College of Business, the College of Education and the Evelyn T. Stone College of Professional Studies.  The ceremonies will be held in the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University.
As CSOA president, Rutter oversees the operations of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Center Presents, the Institute for Learning, Access and Training, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and the Chicago Symphony Chorus. The management of the Symphony Center facility also is under her direction.

On the business side, the CSOA has grown during challenging times for symphony orchestras. Ticket and contributed revenues are at an all-time high, the endowment has increased by $70 million and annual fund contributions have doubled.

In 2008, Rutter appointed world-renowned conductor Riccardo Muti as the orchestra’s tenth music director and in 2009 named acclaimed cellist Yo-Yo Ma as creative consultant.

The CSO has also added concert series such as Beyond the Score, Afterwork Masterworks, MusicNOW and Friday Night at the Movies; mounted citywide musical celebrations, such as 2007’s Silk Road Chicago and 2012’s Keys to the City Piano Festival; resumed the Orchestra’s weekly syndicated radio broadcasts on WFMT-radio; and established its own recording label, CSO Resound.

Although she learned to play the violin and piano at an early age, Rutter knew being a professional musician was not in her future. However, her continued love for music led  her to top positions at orchestras in some of the biggest cities in the country. She previously was executive director of the Seattle Symphony, executive director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and orchestra manager for the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Rutter is actively involved in numerous national and local cultural organizations, including the Grant Park Conservancy and League of American Orchestras. A graduate of Stanford University and an MBA recipient from the University of Southern California, she was named one of Chicago Magazine’s Most Influential Chicagoans in 2012.