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The Ridgewood Symphony Orchestra

Artistic Director & Conductor 

Diane Wittry, is celebrating her third season as the orchestra's Artistic Director and Conductor for the 77th Anniversary Season.  She is excited to be working with our dedicated and talented musicians as the organization celebrates the history and accomplishments of the Ridgewood Symphony Orchestra over the past 77 years.

Diane Wittry is known nationally for her innovative programming style and her audience rapport. Her choices of repertoire and her ability to related to an audience always make her concerts unique and interesting. The Stamford Advocate, CT, featured Diane Wittry as “a conductor who specializes in finding creative ways to make the music fresh, accessible, and exciting.”

In addition to her work with the Ridgewood Symphony, Diane Wittry is currently the Music Director and Conductor of the Allentown Symphony in Pennsylvania, and the Artistic Director for the International Cultural Exchange Program for Classical Musicians with the Sarajevo Philharmonic in Bosnia.  In the past, Diane Wittry has also been the Music Director of the Norwalk Symphony (CT), and the Conductor of the Symphony of Southeast Texas (TX) where she received the national Helen M. Thompson Award from the League of American Orchestras for outstanding artistic leadership of a regional orchestra.

As a guest conductor in the United States, Diane Wittry has led performances by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Milwaukee Symphony, the Houston Symphony, the New Jersey Symphony, the San Diego Symphony, the Buffalo Philharmonic, among others.  She has also conducted at the music festivals of Ojai (CA), Penn’s Woods (PA), and I-Park (CT). Internationally, her conducting engagements include concerts with the Sarajevo Philharmonic in Bosnia, the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine, Russia’s Maikop and Sochi symphony orchestras, Poland's Zabre Philharmonic, Slovakia’s State Orchestra-Kosice, Italy’s Sinfonia Dell’Arte di Firenze, Canada’s Niagara Symphony, and Japan’s Osaka Symphony.  She enjoys being an advocate for American music through her international engagements.

Diane Wittry is recognized as a leading teacher of conducting and she is in demand as a pedagogue for conducting seminars and workshops in the United States and Europe.  She is the author of Beyond the Baton, a nationally recognized book about artistic leadership for conductors and music directors of American orchestras which has become a standard text for the industry. (www.BeyondtheBaton.com).   Her new book, Baton Basics, Communicating Music Through Gestures, will be published by Oxford University Press, October 2014.  

In addition to being a conductor, Diane Wittry is a accomplished composer with pieces performed by orchestras across the United States. Her music is published by the Theodore Presser Company. The Allentown Symphony will be premiering one of her new compositions in April 2015.

More information about Diane Wittry is available at her website: www.DianeWittry.com  

Artistic Advisor & Assistant Conductor
Edmund A. Moderacki serves as Artistic Advisor and Assistant Conductor of the Ridgewood Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Moderacki graduated with honors from Montclair State College. He holds a MA from Hunter College (CUNY) and has done additional studies at Seton Hall University, Newark State College and the Center for Understanding Media. He is currently a music teacher in the River Vale (NJ) Schools, and has been conductor of the Waldwick Concert Band since 1978. Active in education and the arts, Mr. Moderacki is president-elect of the Music Educators of Bergen County, Inc., serves as a member of the Steering Committee of Bergen County Teen Arts and sits on the boards of several arts and education organizations. He was also the conductor of the 2001 All Bergen County High School Band and RSO Project Symphony 2003 at River Vale, Riverdale, and Wayne.


Director of Strings

Susan Heerema, a graduate of the Juilliard School of Music with a Bachelor of Music Degree in 1992 in Violin Performance, is a well-established solo, orchestra, chamber musician and Teacher of Music, including vocals and instrumental. Ms. Heerema’s studies were under the tutelage of Dorothy DeLay, Hyo Kang, as well as world-renowned coaches, Richard Simon and Charles Castleman.  Ms. Heerema has performed under the baton of Rostropovich, Rampal, and Menuhin in France and continues to perform at Merkin, Carnegie, Avery Fischer, and Alice Tully Halls, as well as the Weill Recital, MAYO Arts Center, and PNC Bank.  She has toured Norway, Iceland and Scotland with the Philharmonia Virtuosi, performed at the Spoleto {Italy} and Sarasota Opera Festivals, and many Baroque festivals in the U.S. Most recently, Ms.Heerema was awarded the Principal Chair of the newly formed Berkshire Opera Festival, performing their inauguration performance of Madame Butterfly with Metropolitan Opera Guest Director, Brian Garman. Ms. Heerema premiered a new Opera for the Bronxville Opera as Concertmaster this past year.  She has performed most of  the various opera repertoire with conductors, Joel Revzen, Anton Coppola, Kathy Kelly, and Alfredo Silipigni. 


Having held numerous leadership positions as Concertmaster since the age of 11,  Ms. Heerema now sits Concertmaster for Spectrum Symphony, NY and the Society of Musical Arts orchestra of NJ.  As a recipient winner of Solo competitions, Ms. Heerema performed solo concertos at the Garden State Arts Center and John Harms Theatre; and with the Hawthorne Chamber Symphony, St. Peter By the Sea, the Monmouth Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Rockaway Five Towns Symphony, and other known orchestras.  She recently performed as soloist Massenet’s “Meditation on Thais” with Spectrum Symphony; and last year, Ms. Heerema was soloist for Dvorak’s “Romance in F” with the Society of Musical Arts orchestra.


Ms. Heerema has performed and recorded with such artists as, Chuck Mangione, Blackstreet MTV Unplugged, Matchbox Twenty on VH1, U2 on Conan O’Brien Show, Exhibit for the David Letterman Late Night Show, Vanessa Williams, and Brian Stokes Mitchell, The Doors 21st Century, Cyndi Lauper, Leeann Womack live concert in NY, and the Mannheim Steamrollers, etc. Ms. Heerema has recorded with Mark Anthony, Bjork, Tony Bennett, Michael Thomas, Mark Antonio Solis, Aretha Franklin, and for the Bryant Gumble show, as well as Fernando Otero's Argentine Quintet, X-Tango. Her Broadway experience includes The King and I, Ragtime, and Phantom of the Opera, as well as Concertmaster for Phantom of the Opera’s national tour. 


Ms. Heerema served as Contractor and Concertmaster for "Prayers for America," the memorial service for the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks held 9/23/01 at Yankee Stadium and broadcast worldwide.


For eight years, Ms. Heerema was Orchestral Personnel Manager for the Berkshire Opera Company and the Amor Artis Chamber Music Concerts, and continues to contract full orchestras for NY’s First Baptist Church Series as well as Ringwood’s First Presbyterian Church Christmas Eve Services. Ms. Heerema enjoys both singing and violin strolling in restaurants for weddings and parties and coordinating music and musicians for special events in the area. 


Ms. Heerema had provided for eight years a string program at the FarBrook School in Short Hills, and for two years the Vocal 6th Grade Choir program at the Berkeley Heights Schools.  For the last thirteen years, Ms. Heerema teaches the courses of AP and CPE Music Theory, and is the Director of Music for both the Indian Hills Chamber Choir and Concert Choir and the RIH String Orchestra of Ramapo Indian Hills High School Regional in Franklin Lakes and Oakland NJ.  Ms. Heerema has conducted the Indian Hills Regional High School Chamber Choir 4 years in a row for the stage of the Christmas Spectacular Show in NY.  Her Chamber Choir is repeatedly asked to return to perform in the prestigious Martin Luther King Service held each year at Ridgewood’s United Methodist Church.


Because of Ms. Heerema’s expertise, she is frequently asked to conduct the sectionals for both the Region and All State orchestras. Ms. Heerema enjoys for the past 24 years her own teaching studio of violin and viola students.  Ms. Heerema was recently asked to be a Board Member of the Bergen Youth Orchestra, Tenafly, NJ.


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