Interview with Honolulu Symphony's New Conductor, Andreas Delfs

MARVIN: Tuesday's announcement of Andreas Delfs as the Honolulu Symphony's new principle conductor is music to fans ears.  He's known around the world for his enthusiasm and musical innovation.  Welcome Hawaii's new music man Andreas Delfs.  Good morning and congratulations.

ANDREAS: Good morning and thank you so much.

MARVIN: Actually congratulations to all of us.  First of all how did this come about, where you're originally from and how you meet your connection to Honolulu?

ANDREAS: I'm originally from Germany. I started in New York City and I was in Buffalo New York and I was snowed in when I got a call to replace somebody here in Honolulu in November and I looked out of the window in the heaps of snow and I said "sure I'd go to Honolulu" and I really hit it off with the orchestra and here I am.

MARVIN: Well quite nice.  Now you're no stranger to Hawaii, you have guest conducted here before.  Talk about that experience.

ANDREAS: Well that was that experience in November and it was just fabulous and as I said yesterday, I came looking forward to a great vacation and maybe a little bit music making at the side, turned out the other way around.  I came for some great music making with a little vacation at the side. This orchestra is fabulous.  It's a very serious, hard-working orchestra and it's just one of the best in America.

MARVIN: Well you have talked about how you hit it of with the musicians, you know chemistry is obviously going to be big... when it comes to symphonic presentation, what's the key there, how were you able to connect so well with the...

ANDREAS: If I know the key I have the magic bullet, you know it's like with every inter-relationship with people, there's chemistry, you like each other or you don't, it works or it doesn't. One thing that I always try to do, is listen.  Many people come into meeting whether it's in orchestra, any other group, with a pre-conceived feeling and notion what they want to do. They don't listen to what's going on, they don't listen to the music, they don't listen to the voices. So to be flexible and react and really look at this situation with fresh eyes and ears every single time that's one of the things I try to do.

MARVIN: Now you're a child prodigy you began your conducting career, I believe, at the age of 17 is that correct?


MARVIN: At what point though, did you kind of hang out at home with your instruments and figured "you know this is what I really want to do" what was that moment like?

ANDREAS: It took a long time, you know my mother is a television actress and I wasted a lot of time in the seedy world of theater and television, not being serious about my job

MARVIN: (laughing) I didn't realize we're in the seedy world right now but go ahead.

ANDREAS: (laughing) Half world. So it was actually when I conducted the Philadelphia Orchestra in Carnegie Hall I thought "well maybe this is something I should take a little bit more seriously" and accept the fact that this is going to be my life.

MARVIN: Well, now you have a 3-year-stay here on the islands with the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra.  Our musical culture is unique and we're proud of it. What do you see as some of the obstacles and challenges and some of the adventures you anticipate during your stay here?

ANDREAS: Well you know, during the press conference that I was introduced two days ago, there was a wonderful traditional Hawaiian singing, dancing, hula and incantation of prayer and Hawaiian language.  I thought it was so beautiful that I spontaneously said "my first order of business would be to learn more about this incredibly rich culture" and see how we can build bridges between what we do, which is basically western classical music and the richness and the wealth of Hawaiian culture.

MARVIN: Well 2008 season, we will see your debut in August. Thank you for joining us this morning and congratulations on your 3 years with the Honolulu Orchestra. We look forward to it intensely.