President & CEO, Dayton Performing Arts Alliance

Paul Helfrich, President & CEO of the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance, was born in Philadelphia and grew up in Upper Black Eddy, Pennsylvania. He began playing the tuba at age 12 and later studied that instrument at Indiana University – Bloomington with the late Harvey Phillips, Distinguished Professor of Music. After receiving his Bachelor of Music degree (with distinction) in 1984, Mr. Helfrich continued his studies at Indiana University, receiving a Master's degree in Arts Administration in 1986.

Mr. Helfrich came to Dayton to serve as President of the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra in October 2008.  In less than four years with the Dayton Philharmonic, he oversaw the launch of two new series including the highly successful Rockin’ Orchestra series, the completion of a $1.5 million special fundraising campaign called Protect & Secure, negotiated three collective bargaining agreements with the American Federation of Musicians, and played a key role in the merger of the Dayton Philharmonic with the Dayton Ballet and Dayton Opera to create the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance. 

Before coming to Dayton, Mr. Helfrich served 12 years as Executive Director of the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra in Charleston, West Virginia.  His accomplishments in the Mountain State include the launch of subscription pops and family concert series, numerous productions of fully-staged opera and ballet, the expansion of the WVSO’s touring and education programs, the negotiation of four collective bargaining agreements with the American Federation of Musicians, the successful management of a search for a new music director and conductor, and guidance of the orchestra’s transition to a new home in the Clay Center for the Arts & Sciences of West Virginia.  He helped lead an $8 million endowment & recapitalization campaign for the WVSO, A New Vision for New Times, which concluded in December 2008 with its goal met and exceeded. The WVSO’s budget grew 94% overall during his time with the orchestra, with ticket sales, sponsorships, and annual fundraising all significantly increased.   

Mr. Helfrich’s previous positions include service as Executive Director of the Erie Philharmonic in Erie, Pennsylvania; Assistant General Manager and Director of Marketing & Public Relations with the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra in Kalamazoo, Michigan; Coordinator of Publicity and Special Programs at the Indiana University School of Music in Bloomington, Indiana; and Assistant to the President at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey.

In other professional activities, Mr. Helfrich served as a 2015 Grants Panelist for Cuyahoga Arts & Culture in Cleveland, OH, and he has been a past member of the Instrumental Music/Jazz Panel for the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. He has served as Chairman of Manager’s Meeting Group 3 for the League of American Orchestras. He was an active volunteer for on-air fundraising campaigns for West Virginia Public Broadcasting and served as a member of the board of directors of Friends of West Virginia Public Radio.  He has narrated works with symphony orchestra including Copland’s Lincoln Portrait, Britten’s Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, and Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, and has served as Master of Ceremonies for the annual “Celebration of the Arts” of the University of Dayton. He is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of Discover Classical WDPR and WDPG and a member of the Dayton Rotary Club.

Mr. Helfrich’s interests include music (with a dual interest in classical and rock), building scale models, bicycling, reading, sports, and history.  He competes in numerous regional model contests and shows, and over 200 examples of his work may be viewed online at (  He is the 2015 President of the local modeling club Wright Field Scale Modelers and a member of the International Plastic Modelers Society and the Armor Modeling and Preservation Society. 

He follows NFL football as a die-hard fan of the Philadelphia Eagles and college basketball as a fervent supporter of the Indiana Hoosiers.  A life-long fan of fantasy, horror, and science fiction literature, he is a member of the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society and an enthusiastic devotee of the epic fantasy works of J.R.R. Tolkien and George R.R. Martin.       

Mr. Helfrich resides in Centerville, Ohio along with his wife, Geanie, and children Donald, a junior at Centerville High School, and Gabby, a freshman at Centerville High School.