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Dorian Delfs begins building patron relationships today


“I relish the opportunity to continue growing the Philharmonic’s

 momentum in serving such a vibrant community,” he says.


ROCHESTER, NY –Your Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) announces that Dorian Delfs begins work today (April 24) as its new Development Officer.


Delfs, 30, was born in Bern, Switzerland, into the world of classical music. He is the eldest child of RPO Music Director Andreas Delfs and his wife, Amy.


“I started piano and cello at an early age and participated in choir, youth orchestra, and competition,” Dorian recalls, joking that he and his siblings were “orchestra brats,” frequently pulling up and putting down roots each time his father took a post in a new city.


“We left Switzerland when I was age two. From there, we were in Hannover, Germany. Then Milwaukee, then back to Germany. Then, I think, St. Paul, Pittsburgh, Honolulu…”


He trails off for a second, then chuckles. “It was so many places; I’ll need to look them up.”


Along the way, Dorian became fascinated by the mechanics of orchestras. “Rural, urban, European, American, big and small – I’ve seen all kinds of things: the ups and the downs.”


Dorian says his greatest takeaway came from understanding orchestras’ importance, as well as debts, to their communities – especially during trying financial times.


“Over the years, I’ve met so many whose lives were enriched by music in so many different ways, and it was just heartbreaking when their orchestras were struggling.”


So, at 18, Dorian pivoted from performing to his other passions – math and economics – with the intent of applying that knowledge to reinforcing financial foundations of not-for-profit arts institutions through a relentless focus on relevance to the communities they serve.


After beginning studies at the University of Vienna, he graduated in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and economics from Temple University. He comes to the RPO following work doing economic research for his alma mater.


For both Dorian and his wife Laura Christine Vann (a nurse specializing in genetic diseases of the heart), the move from Philadelphia to Rochester brings them closer to family. Vann hails from the village of Trumansburg, NY, some 15 miles northwest of Ithaca. Dorian became increasingly familiar with Rochester as his father racked up guest-conducting appearances with the RPO, the first in 1994. Andreas was named music director in 2021.


However, family ties by no means guaranteed Dorian his new position.


“Our search was exhaustive, and he had to earn the job,” says RPO Vice President of Development Robert Dermody. “He was one of more than 50 applicants, 30 phone-screen and 10 in-person interviews. Ultimately, he emerged the strongest candidate.”


Dorian begins working for the RPO just days after moving here.


“I’m coming in during an important period for the Philharmonic,” he notes. “The stars are aligning there. Everyone’s rowing in the same direction. The opportunities are huge.”


But Dorian is equally excited about the other half of the work-life balance in his new hometown.


“Everyone I’ve met in Rochester has been so warm, friendly and nice – which is not the case in other cities I’ve lived,” he explains, “This is a rare and special place.” 


ABOUT THE RPO: The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) has been committed to enriching and inspiring our community through the art of music since its origins in 1922. The RPO presents approximately 150 concerts and broadcasts a year, serving up to 170,000 people through ticketed events, education and community engagement activities, and concerts in schools and community centers throughout the region. Andreas Delfs was named music director in 2020 following notable RPO music directors Erich Leinsdorf, David Zinman, Mark Elder and Conductor Laureate Christopher Seaman. Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik, now in his 29th season, has earned a national reputation for excellence in pops programming during his tenure with the RPO. The RPO reaches more than 15,000 youth through its specific education programs.

Photo Credit: Alex Cassetti