A Dinner Conversation with Deborah Rutter, President of the Kennedy Center


An exceptional opportunity to hear from one of the nation’s most adroit leaders in the arts.



Deborah F. Rutter, President of the John F. Kennedy Center of the Performing Arts, will share the history and vision of the Kennedy Center in a dinner lecture on Wednesday October 30th. The Kennedy Center is recognized as our nation's premier cultural and performing arts institution in the US and internationally. Its storied history, mission and vision - articulated and embodied by President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis - are reaching new and exciting heights under the leadership of its President, Deborah F. Rutter. This will be an interactive opportunity to celebrate and learn about our nation's cultural treasure and its leadership, in our front yard of Washington DC. In an age marked by social and technological change, Deborah Rutter has emerged as one of the nation’s most adroit leaders in the arts, combining artistic daring with fiscal sustainability, inclusivity, and responsiveness to the needs of the community. Ms. Rutter began as President of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on September 1, 2014, and serves as curator of the Kennedy presidential memorial, and artistic and administrative director to the world’s busiest performing arts center.  

About the Kennedy Center:

Established as a “living memorial” by an act of Congress in 1964, the Kennedy Center honors the 35th president, advancing his vision of excellence and diversity in the arts. In an ever expanding celebration of this legacy, the Center presents theater, contemporary dance, ballet, vocal music, chamber music, hip hop, comedy, international arts, and jazz, alongside dynamic seasons with the Kennedy Center’s world-class affiliates: the National Symphony Orchestra and Washington National Opera. As the work of a living memorial is never finished, Rutter is advancing the Center’s commitment to 21st century programming.


Biography of Deborah Rutter:

In her first year at the Kennedy Center, Rutter broke ground on a transformative arts facility, the REACH, which provides flexible indoor and outdoor performance space to nurture new art, community, innovation, arts education, and informal encounters between the artist and the public. Designed by renowned architect Steven Holl, the REACH graces the southern end of the campus and connects the Kennedy Center to the popular pedestrian and bicycle trail along the Potomac River. 

Today, Ms. Rutter is reshaping Kennedy Center offerings to include more artist-led programming while challenging people across the industry to reimagine creative expression through the lens of cross-disciplinary collaborations. In 2018, she launched the cutting-edge festival of contemporary culture, DIRECT CURRENT, an annual series spotlighting new and interdisciplinary art. An adept team builder, Rutter is drawing some of the world’s most visionary, and most iconic artists to the Kennedy Center creative team, including cellist YoYo Ma, soprano Renée Fleming, singer-songwriter Ben Folds, and DJ and composer Mason Bates; as well as the Center’s first Artistic Director of Hip Hop Culture, Q-Tip. Rutter scored a “coup for the NSO,” according to The Washington Post’s Anne Midgette, by landing the prominent Italian conductor Gianandrea Noseda as the National Symphony’s seventh Music Director.

Working at the vanguard of community engagement, Ms. Rutter manages one of the nation’s most extensive arts education networks, reaching millions of people of all ages across all 50 states with live performances, as well as providing multidisciplinary arts training and support to schools, students, children at risk, teachers, artists, and civic leaders. Rutter also administers VSA, an international organization providing arts enrichment programs to people with disabilities. In 2018, she forged a partnership with The Second City to co-produce new shows for the Kennedy Center and national stage, and to develop a comedy-centered education program for young people and adults. Committed to art as “an agent for positive change” at the community level, Rutter established the Citizen Artist Fellowship at the Kennedy Center to provide training and support to emerging artists who have distinguished themselves in community activism. A lifelong champion of orchestral music, Rutter forged a partnership with Washington Performing Arts to stage the SHIFT Festival of American Orchestras, a multiyear showcase of ensembles from diverse communities working at the forefront of community engagement. 

In the area of arts advocacy, Rutter worked with Artistic Advisor at Large Renée Fleming, to create a partnership with the National Institutes of Health to study treatments and health benefits associated with writing, performing, and listening to music. As a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Rutter serves as co-chair of the multiyear Commission on the Arts.

Deborah Rutter is a graduate of Stanford University and holds an M.B.A. from the University of Southern California. She was born in Pennsylvania and grew up in the Los Angeles area. She studied piano and violin from an early age, and played in orchestras throughout her student days.

Date: October 30th, 6:30-8:30 pm

Location: Hogan Lovells, 555 13th Street, NW, Washington, DC 2004 (Metro Center)

Fee: $45. for Harvard Club Members and their guests; $65. for nonmembers 



6:30PM - 8:30PM Wed 30 Oct 2019 ( Timezone: Eastern )


Hogan and Lovells
555 13th Street,NW
Washington, DC 20004 USA

[ Get Directions ]

Click here to buy tickets!!!


This venue is fully handicap accessible and our meals are designed to accommodate vegetarians.

The nearest metro station is Metro Center. Exit at 12th and F Street, NW. Your destination is the building named "Columbia Square" which will you see right in front of you as you exit the escalator.

There are several nearby parking garages including:

Columbia Square Parking Garage: 555 12th Street NW, Washington, DC 20004 (202) 637-8105

Parking Management: 600 13th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20004 (202) 347-5469

  • MENU:

    Caesar salad

    Salmon Piccata

    Chicken Milanese

    Garlic and chive tossed noodles

    Roasted Brussel sprouts with apricots and almonds

    Fresh fruit with pumpkin cheesecakes bits and mini bundt cakes