The world oldest active conductor, at 97?

The world oldest active conductor, at 97?


norman lebrecht

October 22, 2013

Message received:

My father, Edward Simons who lives in Rockland County NY has been

conducting the Rockland Symphony since 1952 and he has a young

people’s concert tomorrow. He will be 97 on 2/1/14. Someone told me

they googled him and he’s the oldest active conductor in the country

or the world but I wasn’t sure if that’s true – wasn’t sure how to

verify it. We have 4 generations of musicians in our family – very

talented grandchildren (Ed’s great-grandkids) Dad also still teaches

violin and performs and plays string quartets regularly. At a recent

community gathering, we played the G Minor Mozart Piano Quartet with 2

of my musician grandkids.

Jo Simons

edward (1)




  • Alex says:

    And here is the Maestro himself, leading Water Music at a rather leisurely tempo.

  • Conducting seems to be a healthy activity. It engages the mind as well as the body and certainly fulfills personal usefulness. Good luck to your father, he looks to be a very happy man.

    • It must be wonderful to have four generations of musicians in the family, and playing quartets with them must be great. Congrats to your father. May he have many more years of conducting and / or playing music.

  • Paul Hess says:

    Since my year of birth

    , 1952 !

  • Gonout Backson says:

    Not the oldest, but still active, and how! : Skrowaczewski turned 90 on Oct. 3.

  • Al Jacobsen says:

    I played under Ed with the Rockland Symphony a number of times 5-8 years ago. He is a wonderful person and I’m so glad to hear he is still busy with music. Ed played in the violin section of the Pittsburgh Symphony (where I currently work on staff) during the 1938-39 and 1941-42 seasons while Fritz Reiner was music director. Here is a short bio I found on him:

    Edward Simons has had a full career as a violinist and conductor. He played violin in the Pittsburgh Symphony under Fritz Reiner during the 1938-39 and 1941-42 seasons, taught violin at Michigan State College from1939-41, and toured the United States as the third conductor of the American Ballet Theater in 1947. In 1949 he began a conducting career on Broadway as Musical director of Where’s Charlie starring Ray Bolger. He conducted Wonderful Town, Two on the Aisle, My Fair Lady and Camelot, some on Broadway and some on national tours. In 1952 he founded the Rockland Symphony Orchestra, of which he is still Music Director and Conductor. In 1956 he helped establish the Community Music School, now the Rockland Conservatory, where he has an extensive class of violin students.