The Rockland Symphony was born as the "Suburban Symphony" in 1952 under the leadership of conductor Edward Simons. It was a group of 20 musicians.

The Symphonette was supported by the Rockland Foundation, now known as the Rockland Center for the Arts.

In 1955, with membership at 50, the Symphonette became independently incorporated as the Suburban Symphony Association, Inc. Later it became known as the Rockland suburban symphony.

In 1963 Mr. Simons took a leave of absence to take the show "Camelot" on a national tour. George Koutzen became the conductor. Mr. Koutzen's tenure lasted until 1974, when he left Rockland County to take a performing job in California. A professional conductor, Ugo Didio, was hired.

Mr. Simons resumed the directorship of the Symphony in 1977. Also in 1977 the Symphony was named Rockland Community College's " orchestra in residence" and began performing at the College's new Cultural Arts Center. In 1989 it began doing business as the Rockland Symphony.


Edward Simons - Music director and Conductor : 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.

Dr. Marvin von Deck - Associate Conductor : Marvin von Deck is a native of Hartford , Connecticut and attended Boston University where he received a Bachelor of Music degree and a Master of Arts degree in Musicology. He studied conducting at the Royal Academy of Music in London and was awarded the Sir Ernest Read conducting prize. He also studied at the Domaine School of Conducting with Pierre Monteux and holds a Ph.D. in Music Education from New York University. He was the director of the orchestra at Tappan Zee High School for thirty years.

Dr. von Deck has been associate conductor of the Rockland Symphony since 1981 and is well known as a violinist and a violist with ensembles in Rockland and Bergen counties. He is presently the Music Director of the North Jersey Symphony in Tenafly and for several years conducted the Adelphi Chamber Orchestra.


Violinist Heather Vogel studied at Indiana University and earned her BFA at SUNY Purchase. She studied with Edward Simons, Rachmael Weinstock, Nelli Shkolnikova and Burton Kaplan. She studied chamber music with Charles Castleman, the Cassat Quartet and the Orion Quartet. She was a member of the Berlin-Babelsberg Film Orchestra in Germany and performed at the Rheinsberg Kammer-Oper Festival in 1995. She is an active orchestral and chamber musician in the tri-state area. Heather is currently on faculty at the Hudson River School of Music and is the concert mistress of the Rockland Symphony Orchestra.

John Lampkin studied music through private instruction, with acclaimed composer Donald Waxman as his principal composition and piano teacher. Over the past thirty years, Mr. Lampkin has composed hundreds of works and arrangements, some published by Charles Hansen and E.C. Schirmer. His three books of recital pieces, Portraits, received acclaim from Piano Quarterly: “Mr. Lampkins is extremely gifted with a wonderful sense of humor.” He never gets tired of quoting this review. Piano & Keyboard magazine recently listed him as one of the 60 significant composers of the 20th century for educational compositions. In 1989, he turned to musical theater, and wrote scores for eleven musicals. In 1997, his award-winning CD of original songs for children, Mara & Sue’s Family Vacation logged nationwide airplay. He devoted 1998 to the composition of his Piano Concerto No. 1 which was premiered last year by Jefferey Swinkin with the RSO under the baton of Ed Simons, and has since been performed three more times by various soloist and orchestras across the country. The concerto completed a woodwind quintet, Insects: a Musical Entomology which will be premiered soon by a consortium of quintets across the country who commissioned the work. Currently, he is searching high and low for a patron to commission his Piano Concerto No.2.

Pianist Christopher Oldfather's eclectic career on all keyboard instruments has taking him as far as Moscow and Tokyo. The New York Symphony, and the Ensemble Moderne in germany have all presented his a soloist, and he is a longtime member of Boston's acclaimed  Collage New Music ensemble. The Julliard Quartet has invited Mr. Oldfather to Perform in Washington, and he and the Quartet's violinist, Robert Mann, recorded Elliott Carter's Duo,  receiving two Grammy nominations in 1990.

Alice was born in Toronto, Canada, into a family of professional Russian musicians and now is 8 years old. Alice started improvising on the piano at the age of two and began studying the piano at the age of four with her mother. After six months she was one of the winners at the Markham Music Festival and performed as a soloist and accompanist in front of an audience of 700 people at the North Chinese Alliance Church.

Alice has received many awards and scholarships at various music competitions in Canada including

Markham Music Festival, Peel Music Festival, and Canadian Music Competitions.

At the age of 5, Alice placed First in the 2002 Canadian Music Competitions Ontario Final and the National Final in Ottawa, becoming the youngest contestant to win such a title.

In July 2002, Alice performed a piano concerto by C. Rollin with the chamber orchestra at the JVL Summer School for Performing Arts.

During the year of 2002-2003, Alice has performed at major concert halls in Toronto, including the Glenn Gould Studio of CBC, the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga, the Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts, and the Latvian Canadian Centre, as well as performing solo recitals in music schools.

In May 2003, Alice Burla auditioned and was the youngest ever student admitted to the Pre-College Division of the Juilliard School in New York where she is currently studying piano in the studio of Professor Oxana Yablonskaya. Also, her studies include classes in music theory, ear training, and piano performance, where she is one of the best students.

On March 2004, Alice accompanied the Chorus of Hillside Elementary School at the New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) Festival where they earned a gold rating. Although Alice has only been in the United States for a few months, she has already successfully performed at City Hall in Norwalk, Connecticut, Paul Hall in Lincoln Center, Philipsburgh Performing Arts Centre, Inaugural Concert at Irvington Public Library, Pearl River Library in Rockland County, at a few concerts at Hastings High School, Rye Playland and Messiah Lutheran Church in Queens.

On June 6, 2004, Alice Burla, as a winner of the 2004 Young Artist Piano Showcase Auditions, performed at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall.

Among other interests, Alice likes to dance ballet. She studied ballet for 3 years and had several performances with the Bayview School of Ballet in Toronto. Alice also likes reading in English and Russian, drawing, writing stories, enjoys playing chess and swimming.

The Rockland Symphony is an affiliate of the Arts Council of Rockland
and gratefully acknowledges support from the Arts Fund for Rockland,
a project of the Arts Council of Rockland.