American violinist and conductor Ed Simons was born on 1 February 1917 and grew up in Pittsburgh. By the age of nine he was playing the violin. He had a few formal lessons, but was mostly self-taught, using library books.
He played in a military band in World War II, then moved to New York City and played with the American Ballet Theatre, whose conductor found out that Simons was secretly studying orchestral scores and gave him a chance to conduct, without any conducting experience. It went well, and Simons got a job conducting Broadway shows.
During this time he founded the Suburban Symphony, Rockland County, NY, later known as the Rockland Symphony Orchestra. He remained conductor for over sixty years, conducting a concert in September 2017, at the age of one hundred.
He also taught music appreciation at Rockland Community College.
At the time of his death on 26 June 2018, aged 101, he was the oldest active conductor in the USA.