Leader of Dayton’s performing arts alliance resigns

The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance — which includes the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, Dayton Ballet and Dayton Opera — has announced the resignation of its president and CEO Paul Helfrich effective February.

Helfrich will become the executive director of the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra.

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Helfrich came to Dayton in 2008 to serve as president of the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra and became president and CEO of the newly created arts alliance four years later.

“It has been my great honor to have served as DPAA’s President and CEO since its inception in 2012,” Helfrich said in a news release. “I am proud to have been a part of such accomplishments as the launch of our Rockin’ Orchestra Series, the expansion of our education programs to include Q the Music and Arts Connect, and of course the formation of the DPAA itself, an organization that remains unique in the nation in its collaborative merger of three art forms. I will be always be grateful to our Board for giving me this opportunity, to our wonderful Artistic Directors Karen Russo Burke, Tom Bankston, and Neal Gittleman for their creativity and inspiration, to all our hardworking volunteers, and to our outstanding team of artist performers and staff members. It’s been a privilege to work with you, and I look forward to following your ongoing success from my new home in Florida.”

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The DPAA merger was the first of its kind in the nation, and the DPAA remains the only arts organization that combines a professional dance company, opera company, and philharmonic orchestra as one operating entity.

During Helfrich’s 7½ years as president and CEO of DPAA, the organization forged a new, blended organizational culture and was one of only five organizations in the country to receive a prestigious “Music Alive” grant in 2014 from New Music USA and the League of American Orchestras.

“He was a key leader in the merger of the Dayton Philharmonic, Ballet and Opera – a first in the nation which many said could never work; however, Paul brought all three together and we now have the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance. He has worked tirelessly over the course of his tenure with our organization, including most recently with the development of the 2020-2021 season, which we will announce on December 31, 2019. We will miss Paul here in Dayton, and we wish him all the best,” Dayton Performing Arts Alliance Board Chairman John Beran said in a news release.

Beran said the DPAA Board will begin a national search to identify Helfrich’s successor.

“We’re confident DPAA’s unique structure and opportunities will be of interest to many highly qualified individuals. We look forward to finding the right individual to work with our artistic directors and staff to take to us an even greater level of success and accomplishment,” he said.

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