Ed Simons has conducted the Rockland Symphony since he founded it – in 1952. He turned 100 on February 1 and is considered the oldest living conductor. His career in music began as a young child when his father exposed him to classical greats. He took up the violin at age 9, and has been carrying his instrument with him everywhere for many years (yes, everywhere, even to places like the car repair shop).
His experience in music is wide – he played with a military band for Harry Truman during World War II while serving in the Navy, and he was a member of the Pittsburgh Symphony – Simons was born in Pittsburgh in 1917. He also played with the American Ballet Theater in New York and conducted numerous Broadway musicals.
But since the 1950s, most of his work was done in Rockland, at the Rockland Conservatory of Music, where he still conducts and teaches. Locally he’s a musical legend; his influence on students and the region where he lives has been profound. And the influence of music on his own life has been complete – he says, “The sound of an orchestra has become a part of my mind.”
The New York Times has more details.
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