Meet the BCA's New President and CEO, Gregory Ruffer Print

Boston Center for the Arts is pleased to introduce our new President and CEO, Greogry Ruffer. To help you get to know him, we've asked 5 questions about his influences and inspirations.

Gregory Ruffer, photo by Michael Blanchard Photography

photo by Michael Blanchard Photography

What artist inspires you?

Let me answer this by naming my favorite artists in various genres:

Music: Jennifer Higdon. I have commissioned new works from her twice and love the fresh sound of her voice. Dance: Paul Taylor. He represents music through movement in a way that speaks to my soul. Visual Arts: Willem De Kooning. His works expose raw emotion that is palpable. Theatre: Stephen Sondheim. Brilliant. Just brilliant.

What historical figure do you most relate to?

I'll turn this one around and say, "What historical figure most inspires you?" There are several in this vein, but the first one who comes to mind is Howard Zinn. I believe his work for truth and justice was of paramount importance to humanity as a whole. We are bombarded daily by reports of people who work to divide us along the lines of any type of difference and I find that both sad and disturbing.

Tell us something surprising about yourself.

I am a left-handed conductor. Throughout my entire performing career I held the baton in my left hand, sometimes to the distaste of orchestral players. I wrote my dissertation, called "The Sinister Conductor," looking at how undergraduate conducting teachers view and teach their left-handed students. There are only a very few professional conductors who have ever conducted with the left-hand, which can be offensive to those who hold strongly to tradition.

What are you most looking forward to when you move to the South End?

Though I'm originally from a small town in Ohio, I really consider myself a big city person. When I get to the South End I will get rid of my car and go back to using my feet to get around the way I did when I lived in New York and Washington, DC. The neighborhood is so vibrant and I love being able to walk everywhere while I take in the architecture and the people.

What drew you to the BCA?

I have a long history of being partial to new works, something that is central to the mission of the BCA. Now that I have moved on from being an active, performing musician, I get great satisfaction from being able to support others who are working in the creative process. I'm looking forward to being surrounded by innovation, creativity and artistic creation.