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Internationally Renowned Conductor Andreas Delfs Has Bold Plans for Temple's Symphony Orchestra

Andreas Delfs is the new artistic director and conductor of the Temple University Symphony Orchestra.

Drawing on the musically rich resources of Philadelphia, conductor Andreas Delfs plans to put his stamp on how universities can be agents of change, and has bold ideas for reinventing the presentation of classical music. What will a symphony concert be like 10 years from now, or even five? Mobile apps, multi-media elements, pop-up venues, cocktails?

"I find our repertoire is shrinking. And it has partly to do with the fact that the bottom line is so narrow, that experimentation is kind of not allowed these days." - Andreas Delfs

Delfs has a deep reservoir of experience as a music director and guest conductor. He’s led a myriad of top-notch professional ensembles including The Philadelphia Orchestra, The National Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the London Symphony Orchestra.  

Beginning in 1996 and continuing over a span of 12 seasons, he led the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra to a new level of distinction. From 2001 to 2006, he served as music director of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and continues to act as a guest conductor of ensembles around the world and in the U.S.

The musicians making up the Temple University Symphony Orchestra have already recorded three Grammy-nominated works and the Boyer College of Music and Dance has a history of commissioning new works.  It will be fun to see how this already excellent student orchestra develops under Delf’s leadership.

WRTI's Meridee Duddleston finds out more from Maestro Andreas Delfs.

Radio script:

Meridee Duddleston: This past summer, Temple University jumped into the continuing conversation about the future of classical concerts and music with the choice of a renowned conductor to head its symphony orchestra. 

The German-born Andreas Delfs brings a full storehouse of experience, including a distinguished stretch with the Milwaukee Symphony and numerous guest appearances with major ensembles like the London Symphony Orchestra and The Philadelphia Orchestra. But at the Boyer College of Music and Dance, it’s clear Delf’s passion won’t be confined to the podium.

Andreas Delfs: We cannot forever be stuck in presenting classical music mostly of the 19th century, because if we look at the standard program of any orchestra in the world, especially in the United States, it kind of starts with Beethoven and it kind of ends at the turn from the 19th into the 20th century.

MD: That’s where the university as "incubator of change" comes in. It’s a forum for calculated risks, that might take some time to pan out. Time, Delfs says, too many professional orchestras can ill afford.

AD: I find our repertoire is shrinking. And it has partly to do with the fact that the bottom line is so narrow, that experimentation is kind of not allowed these days.

MD: And that worries the new professor – so he’s banking on a brain trust of student musicians.

AD: I think this next generation of artists needs to spend more time on thinking about what other ways there are to present classical music, and have a platform where they can experiment with different ways.

MD:  Delfs plans to shape that platform, taking talented Temple music students to new performance heights, while shaking up what happens in the concert hall.