ISO Conductors

Petko Dimitrov

A native of Bulgaria, Petko Dimitrov is currently in his first season as Music Director of the New Symphony Orchestra in Sofia.   He also presently serves as Music Director of Cavallo Classico, Munich, Germany, and Music Director of the Western Connecticut Youth Orchestra.  As Assistant Conductor of the Haddonfield Symphony, Mr. Dimitrov was awarded a Bruno Walter Memorial Foundation Fellowship in the 2007-2008 season, which recognizes accomplished young conductors and provides them with a monetary award to further develop their career.

In 2012, Mr. Dimitrov was invited by the Curtis Institute of Music to be Conductor in Residence at the Young Artist Summer Program, which resulted in immediate re-invitation for the 2013 and 2014 Curtis Summerfest.  This season Petko will also return to conduct Symphony in C, one of the three professional training orchestras in the United States.

Previously, Petko Dimitrov has served as Artistic Director and Conductor of the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra’s summer series at Lasdon Park in Katonah, New York. He has also been Cover Conductor of the Princeton Symphony. In performances with WCYO, Mr. Dimitrov had his debut at Carnegie Hall in 2007 and Avery Fisher Hall in 2008. In the spring of 2007 Mr. Dimitrov led the orchestra on tour in Austria and performed in prestigious concert venues including Haydnsaal in Eisenstadt and Schlossberg in Graz. In July 2009, Petko was appointed the conductor of Excalibur - The Celtic Rock Opera, which toured major cities in Germany in 2010-2011. Mr. Dimitrov has been selected twice among the finalists of the George Solti International Conducting Competition.

Petko Dimitrov made his conducting debut with the New Symphony Orchestra, Sofia, Bulgaria in 1998, performing a concert with music by Sir Michael Tippet and Henry Purcell, in collaboration with The British Council. Since 2001 Mr. Dimitrov has been studying and working in the United States.  In 2004 he completed his Master's Degree in Orchestra Conducting at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor under the direction of Prof. Kenneth Kiesler. Petko completed his studies with Prof. Gustav Meier at the Peabody Conservatory (2006), John Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD, where he pursued a Graduate Performance Diploma in Orchestral Conducting.

Barry Stern

Barry SternA Brooklyn native, Barry Stern is in his third season as conductor of the Turtle Bay Orchestra, and an alumnus of the ISO Symphony, having been in the orchestra from 1985 – 1987 under the tutelage of Music Director Emeritus, Jonathan Strasser. Barry currently serves as Principal Conductor of the All City High School Orchestra, and is the orchestra director at Brooklyn’s Fort Hamilton High School, leading the string program and conducting the orchestra in out-of-state competitions, and through many concerts over the course of the school year. As a violist, Barry has collaborated and performed with artists such as Quincy Jones, Mark Wood, Tevin Campbell, and Sarah Brightman. Barry is the founding conductor of NYC’s Summer Arts Institute String Studio, meeting at Frank Sinatra High School for the Arts in Astoria. A recognized curriculum development specialist, he is a co-author of the New York City Department of Education’s Commencement Music Examination, and a lead facilitator for professional development for New York City music teachers, in addition to serving on the committee that created the Blueprint for Teaching and Learning in the Arts. Previously, Mr. Stern was the guest conductor of the NYSSMA Area All State Middle School Festival at Bishop Laughlin High School in Brooklyn, and served on the faculty of the New York State Music Camp and Institute at Hartwick College. Prior to becoming a full time educator, Mr. Stern had been Director of Orchestral Operations at Manhattan School of Music, and Director of the Bronx House School for the Performing Arts. He is a graduate of Lehman College (MAT), and the Manhattan School of Music (BM, MM), where he studied viola with Burton Kaplan and Karen Dreyfus, and conducting with David Gilbert and Jonathan Strasser.

Steven Rochen

Steven RochenSteven Rochen conducts ISO’s Carnegie Hill Orchestra. He has based his career on teaching children to perform with confidence. He has served for more than two decades on the faculties of Third Street Music School, Trinity School, and Meadowmount School of Music. Performances of his piece for solo violin, A Piece of Pi, (Ovation Press, pub.) have been mentioned in articles published worldwide by Agence France-Presse and other media services.

He studied violin with Sally Thomas and Fredell Lack and studied conducting with Igor Buketoff. In 2008 he was appointed the Paul-Philippe Bolduc Fellow, with research trips to Berlin, Vienna, and Prague. He has enjoyed working with the indie band The Baskervilles on their latest CD and also performs with his band The New Lost Faculty Ramblers.

 

Matthew Rotjan

Matthew RotjanMatthew Rotjan, Ed.D., is an active music educator committed to cultivating excitement and enthusiasm in music and music education. As a public school music educator, he recently joined the faculty of the Scarsdale Public Schools (NY), where he is on staff teaching orchestra at Scarsdale Middle School. Prior to this position, Matthew taught in the South Orangetown Central School District (NY), where he taught grades 3-8 string lessons and orchestra classes.

Outside of his activities in the public school, Matthew works with young musicians in NYC as a conductor of the InterSchool Orchestras of New York’s Morningside Orchestra, which has led him to conduct in Trinity Church, Symphony Space, and Carnegie Hall. With a strong commitment to community music making, he is the co-founder/conductor of the Rockland Youth Orchestra, a not-for-profit organization in Rockland County (NY).

Matthew has recently written articles, guest conducted, and presented at conferences for the American String Teachers Association, Broome County Music Educators Association, Connecticut Music Educators Association, Nassau County Music Educators Association, National Association for Music Education, New Jersey Music Educators Association, New York State School Music Association, and the Vermont Music Educators Association. He has been invited to present his research, pedagogical practice, and philosophy at colleges and universities throughout the east coast and has twice been named a Quaterfinalist for the Grammy Music Educator Award.

Matthew earned his doctorate from Teachers College, Columbia University, where he served as a music teacher supervisor, applied music instructor, research assistant, and cooperating teacher. His dissertation, “In-between and together with: Exploring the complexity of repertoire selection with orchestra teachers and their students,” examined the complex relationships between student interests and identities, teacher training and philosophy, and repertoire selection practices in public school orchestras. He is actively immersed in connecting theory to practice in music education, string pedagogy, and teacher preparation. Degrees are from Ithaca College (B.M.) in Music Education and Performance (cello) and Teachers College, Columbia University (M.A., Ed.M., Ed.D.) in Music and Music Education.

Conductor Blog

Connect with your conductor and read rehearsal notes!

Symphony! From your conductor,

December 7, 2018

Dear ISO Symphony musicians, Thank you for great rehearsal on Wednesday! We have 10 days left until the concert in Symphony Space. The ISO repertoire should be in your daily diet. I suggest you do the following to prepare and achieve excellent performance: Play your parts from beginning to end…

Continue reading

Carnegie Hill! From Your Conductor,

December 3, 2018

Carnegie Hill Orchestra: We are now in the countdown for the concert! Please polish anything that you still find difficult to play. For the entire orchestra - Anvil Chorus - the short quarter notes before rests that have rarely been short enough. We have worked on it in rehearsal -…

Continue reading