Michael Zielinski

Bass Trombone | Bass Trombone Read More

Karl Rzasa

Bassoon | Principal Bassoon, RSO Education Outreach Back Story: Karl has played the bassoon for over 15 years and has studied with Janet Polk in New Hampshire, George Sakakeeny at Oberlin, Stephen Walt at the University of Massachusetts, and Bill Buchman in Chicago (where he currently resides). Read More

Michael Beert

Cello | Principal Cello Back Story: Mike has performed with the RSO since 1974. He began his musical studies at age 11 and was a member of the Rockford Area Youth Symphony (now Rockford Symphony Youth Orchestra) in high school. He is also Dean of Arts and Humanities at Rock Valley College. Read More

Darleen Carl-Beck

Clarinet | Principal Clarinet, RSO Education Outreach Back Story: In 1988 Darleen graduated with the honor of a Performer’s Certificate from the Eastman School of Music while studying with Stan Hasty and Charles Neidich. In 1990, She received her Masters Degree from Northwestern University while studying with Russ Dagon. She joined the RSO in the fall of 1990 and has participated in the RSO’s Symphony Goes Schools program as well as the RSO Woodwind Quintet. Darleen taught clarinet at Trinity International University in Deerfield, Illinois and North Park University in Chicago. She has an active private studio of middle school and high school students. As co-founder/director of “Clarinet Camp” for eight years, she worked with students grades 6-12 for an intensive week of study during the summer. She has also taught at the Northwestern summer band camp. As a chamber musician, Darleen has presented concerts with the Mendelsohnn Club of Rockford, the Performing Arts Series at Trinity, and the Woodwind Quintet Residency at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. Read More

Scott Metlicka

Flute | Principal Flute Back Story: Scott Metlicka became a member of the RSO in 1991. Scott started piano at age six and began flute when he was 10. He was an undergraduate at Northern Illinois University and received his Masters degree in flute performance from Northwestern University. He is also the principal flute with the Mendelssohn Chamber Orchestra and the Wisconsin Philharmonic. Scott performs with the Elgin Symphony and plays the piccolo with the South Bend Symphony. Read More

Nanette Felix

Harp | Principal Harp Back Story: Nanette Felix began performing with the RSO while she was finishing her Masters degree in music at Northern Illinois University. Prior to NIU, she earned her bachelors degree in music at Indiana University in Bloomington. Outside of RSO, Nanette performs with various regional orchestras and choirs, along with many harp ensembles. Read More

Debra Freedland

Oboe | Principal Oboe, RSO Education Outreach Back Story: Debra began studying music at age nine. She has studied with Rhadames Angelucci and Carl Berglund in Minneapolis, and Jerry Sirucek in Bloomington, IN. She joined the RSO as principal in 1990. Debra is also Principal oboe with the Elgin Symphony Orchestra. Read More

Kerry Knodle

Percussion | Principal Percussion Back Story: Kerry joined the RSO in 1983, and has previously served as both Acting Principal Percussionist and Acting Principal Timpanist.   He has been playing since the 5th grade (Mount Morris, IL) and studied at Luther College, although not as a music major.  His musical endeavors includ 13+ years as Assistant Director/Percussion instructor with the Phantom Regiment Drum Corps, and performances with many local and regional ensembles. Read More

Simon Gomez Gallego

Timpani | Principal Timpanist Back Story: Simon was born in Medellin, Colombia and received his Bachelor in Music Performance and Master in Music Performance from Miami University and a Post-Master's Certificate in Performance from DePaul University. Read More

Rick Seybold

Trombone | Principal Trombone Back Story: Rick Seybold joined the RSO in 1993. His grandfather was a band director in Chicago and he started playing his grandpa’s baritone horn when he was in 3rd grade. The following year he received his first trombone. Rick has an undergraduate degree from UW-Madison and graduate degrees from Northwestern University. Read More

Mark Baldin

Trumpet | Principal Trumpet, RSO Education Outreach Back Story: Mark joined the RSO in 1980 and has served as principal trumpet for over 25 years. He performs with the RSO Brass Quintet and has active studios both in DeKalb and Rockford. Mark credits his former teachers Bette Eilers, Don DeRoche (both in high school), Ron Modell at Northern Illinois University, and Arnold Jacobs in Chicago as inspirational and influential. Read More

Rebecca Swan

Viola | Principal Violist Back Story: Rebecca Swan (BM The Juilliard School ‘04) is excited to be joining the Rockford Symphony as Principal Viola for her first season. Rebecca grew up in the Chicago area, but she and her husband moved to Charlotte, NC after graduating from Juilliard. While in Charlotte for 14 years, Rebecca played Principal Viola for Charlotte’s Broadway Series, subbed regularly with the Charlotte Symphony, freelanced, and taught violin, viola, and piano. She has studied under violinist Itzhak Perlman, Heidi Castleman, Peter Slowik, Toby Appel, and James Dunham, as well as members of the Juilliard and Brentano Quartets. Before her time in Charlotte, Rebecca played with Iris Chamber Orchestra under Michael Stern, New World Symphony with Michael Tilson Thomas, and The Orquesta Sinfonia Nacional de Costa Rica in San Jose, Costa Rica. She was also the youngest member ever to be accepted into the Civic Orchestra of Chicago under Daniel Barenboim when she was 16. Some of her favorite freelance opportunities have been playing in the stage orchestra for Josh Groban, Stevie Wonder, and Andrea Bocelli. In addition to playing with RSO, Rebecca subs with the Elgin Symphony, Camerata Chicago Chamber Orchestra, Chicago Jazz Philharmonic, and the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra. Read More

Azusa Tashiro

Violin | Principal Violin 2 Back Story: Azusa holds a B.M. from Toho Gakuen School of Music and a M.M. from DePaul University. Read More

Michèle Lekas

Violin | Concertmaster, RSO Education Outreach Back Story: Concertmaster of the Rockford Symphony Orchestra since 1994, Michèle Lekas received her Bachelor's and Master's degrees from the Quebec conservatory of Music, where she studied with Claude Letourneau. She also studied with David Cerone of the Meadowmount School of Music and with Jamie Laredo at the St. Louis Conservatory, where she completed a graduate performance diploma. Read More

Rachel Handlin

Violin | Violin / Assistant Concertmaster Back Story: Rachel has performed with the RSO since 1992 and began her violin studies at the age of four. She lists her three most influential teachers as Pierre Menard of the Vermeer Quartet, Andrezej Grabiec, and David Lowe. Rachel received both her B.M. and M.M. in violin performance at NIU. In addition to performing with the RSO, Rachel is the string program director with the Music Academy of Rockford College and performs in the Woodstock Mozart Festival each August. Read More