Rochester, NY: January 26, 2021 – The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) announces the appointment of Maestro Andreas Delfs as its thirteenth music director in the organization’s 98-year history. Delfs follows in the footsteps of a long line of distinguished music directors including Erich Leinsdorf, David Zinman, Mark Elder, Christopher Seaman, and Ward Stare.

A native of Flensburg, Germany, and graduate of the Hamburg Conservatory and Juilliard School of Music, Andreas Delfs has established himself as a pre-eminent force in the classical music world and one of the finest conductors of his generation.  He has held chief artistic posts with orchestras in Europe and North America. At the age of 20, he became the youngest-ever Music Director of the Hamburg University Orchestra and Musical Assistant at the Hamburg State Opera. Throughout his 12 seasons as Musical Director of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Delfs drew larger audiences to Uihlein Hall, selling out a record 40 concerts there during the 2000-2001 Season. Delfs led the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra as Music Director (2001-2004) and artistic consultant (2004-2006).

Delfs has conducted numerous world premieres and has close links with many of today’s composers. He counts among his profound musical inspirations musicians such as John Corigliano, Philip Glass, Roberto Sierra, and Hans Werner Henze. He is the frequent partner to many of the world’s most renowned solo artists, including André Watts, Emanuel Ax, Joshua Bell, Hilary Hahn, Yo Yo Ma, Lang Lang, and Renée Fleming.

He has an extensive discography, including all five of the Beethoven Piano Concertos; opera and choral works such as Hansel and Gretel, and the Mozart Requiem; and new works for the classical repertoire such as Roberto Sierra’s Missa Latina. His recent recording project is a series of recordings with the Aarhus Symphony for the DaCapo label. His recording of Poul Ruders’s Handel Variations was nominated for “Album of the Year” (2018) by the Danish Radio.

Commenting on his appointment, Delfs said, “I have been in love with this remarkable orchestra for a long time. Every visit I have paid to my friends in this wonderful community has been a profound and rewarding musical experience. The prospect of leading this exceptional group of musicians into their next century is not only filling me with joy and gratitude, it is truly inspiring me to pull out all the stops at my creative and musical disposal. My goal has always been to position the orchestras entrusted to me soundly and solidly in their communities. I will work tirelessly with the outstanding musicians of the RPO to anchor their vibrant presence so deeply into the greater Rochester community that nobody will be able to imagine life without them. I look forward to leading your fabulous RPO in reaching out far beyond the walls of beautiful Kodak Hall to be a beacon bringing joy and inspiration to everybody.”

Over the past 25 years, Delfs has been a frequent guest conductor with the RPO and has a strong affinity with the organization. It is this established rapport which makes him a favorite collaborator with the orchestra.

RPO Concertmaster Juliana Athayde commented, “The musicians of the RPO are thrilled with the appointment of our new Music Director, Andreas Delfs! Working with him as a guest conductor over the years, the orchestra has already formed a special relationship with Maestro Delfs with many memorable performances. As we approach our centennial season, we are excited to have his artistic leadership as the guiding light for our great orchestra. Andreas comes to us with a storied career, nationally and internationally, and our community will benefit greatly from his selfless musicianship, palpable artistry and tireless advocacy for the arts. What a wonderful chapter for the RPO as we look to the future!” 

Delfs is well known for delivering electrifying performances and artistic excellence. He is equally passionate about supporting young musicians and building deep community relationships. He dedicates a substantial part of his time to share his knowledge with young instrumentalists and conductors, at Boyer College (Temple University/Philadelphia) and in international Masterclasses. During his tenure as Music Director at the RPO, he plans to foster new local talent by making music and musical training available to children in the City of Rochester, regardless of their ability to pay for lessons or purchase instruments. “We need to create access to great music for everybody in our communities and shape our orchestras to be regarded as welcoming, inclusive and diverse by all,” said Delfs.

As Music Director of the RPO, Delfs’ leadership will include oversight of the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and partnering with the Philharmonic’s Management on artistic planning, programming and music education activities.

A global search for a new Music Director was conducted in 2019, led by RPO Board member Betsy Rice and comprised of musicians, board, and staff, to find an exceptional artistic leader who would take the organization into its 2023-2024 centenary and beyond. Their search led them to Delfs — a world-renowned conductor who is not only an exciting musician, but a true visionary.

Curt Longthe RPO’s President and CEO said, “When we began our search for a Music Director to lead the RPO though our centennial season and into our second century, it was our priority to find someone who would build on a legacy of artistic excellence by leading powerful and inspired performances that will thrill Rochester audiences for years to come, and also bring creative ideas about how we connect with and stay relevant to our changing community. We found that person in Andreas Delfs.”

Delfs joins the RPO at an unprecedented time in its history.  For the past year, the orchestra has navigated the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, presenting streaming concerts and connecting with audiences around the globe, virtually.

Ross LanzafameChair of the RPO’s Board of Directors, said, “Unlike other orchestras which were forced to close during the pandemic, the RPO has explored new technology to remain a relevant and visible cultural entity in our community. We look forward working with Andreas to build and expand upon this foundation, moving into our next century incorporating technology to forge new and innovative connections with our community.”   

Delfs and his wife, Amy, reside in Trumansburg, NY.