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The Music Institute of Chicago, now in its 85th year, will host its annual gala Monday, May 11 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Downtown Chicago. The oldest community music school in Illinois—and  one of the three largest community music schools in the nation—the Music Institute is planning a celebratory evening highlighted by the presentation of the Dushkin Award to John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts President and former Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association President Deborah F. Rutter.

​The evening will begin at 5:30 p.m. with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, followed by an elegant dinner and awards presentation. Musical performances scheduled throughout the evening include some of the Music Institute’s talented Community School students and award-winning students from the Music Institute’s Academy for gifted pre-college musicians.

The prestigious Dushkin Award, established 29 years ago and named for the Music Institute’s visionary founders Dorothy and David Dushkin, recognizes international luminaries in the world of music for their contributions to the art form, as well as to the education of youth. Past recipients include André Previn, Stephen Sondheim, Riccardo Muti, Yo-Yo Ma, Renée Fleming, Placido Domingo, Sir Georg Solti, and Pierre Boulez, among others.

​​This year’s recipient, Rutter serves as the artistic and administrative director for the world’s busiest performing arts center, managing all facets of the facility, including expansive theater, contemporary dance, ballet, chamber music, and jazz seasons as well as its affiliates the National Symphony Orchestra and Washington National Opera. From August 2003 through June 2014, she served as president of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association (CSOA), overseeing the operations of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO); Symphony Center Presents; the Institute for Learning, Access and Training (including the Civic Orchestra of Chicago); and the Chicago Symphony Chorus. The appointment of world renowned conductor Maestro Riccardo Muti as the CSO’s 10th music director and renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma as the first Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant are two highlights demonstrative of Rutter’s leadership in Chicago. Working with the CSO’s board of trustees, Rutter helped reinvigorate educational programming in 2008 by establishing the Institute for Learning, Access and Training, which engaged more than 200,000 people (with primary emphasis on ages 3 to 30) across the broadest possible socioeconomic and ethnic spectrum each year. In 2011, the Institute launched its Citizen Musician initiative, which seeks to sustain and expand the role of music making in civic and cultural life.

In addition to the Dushkin Award, the institute will present its fifth annual Cultural Visionary Award for Chicago, which recognizes individuals who have provided visionary philanthropic and civic leadership for the broad spectrum of arts in Chicago and Illinois, to Mary B. Galvin. In 1989, Galvin co-founded the Stradivari Society to address the growing need among promising young musicians and the interest among potential patrons worldwide to make it possible to loan beautiful and rare instruments. During its history, the Society has provided instruments to world-class musicians such as Midori, Joshua Bell and Gil Shaham, Leila Josefowicz, Sarah Chang, Maxim Vengerov, and many others. Galvin’s deep love of music and understanding of the importance of early musical training is exemplified through her generous patronage of the “Magical Strings of Youth” program, which has provided hundreds of young students with extraordinary opportunities to perform with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and other orchestras the world over.

​Honorary Chairs for the event are Maestro Riccardo Muti and Yo-Yo Ma. Co-chairs are Susan and Richard P. Kiphart, Jim and Kay Mabie, and Cate and Rick Waddell.

​For more information about the upcoming gala and awards presentations or to purchase tickets, call 847.448.8327.


Deborah Rutter, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts President and Artistic Director (photo by Todd Rosenberg).

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Music Institute of Chicago Gala to Honor Kennedy Center's Deborah Rutter

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