Herbert von Karajan conducting in 1941
Giuseppe Verdi conducting his opera Aida in 1881
Leonard Bernstein conducting the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in 1985
Conductor's score and batons on a lit, extra-large conductor's music stand
,, or fast time
or time
slow time
A conductor, Gerald Wilson, leads a jazz big band
A military conductor leads the U.S. Navy band during Memorial Day ceremonies held at Arlington National Cemetery.
David Baker, a music educator, composer and conductor, (far left) leads the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra during the NEA Jazz Masters awards ceremony and concert in 2008.

Art of directing a musical performance, such as an orchestral or choral concert.

- Conducting

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Baton (conducting)

Stamp from Deutsche Post AG from 1998
Batons used by Arturo Toscanini, on display at a Smithsonian museum.
Igor Stravinsky conducting with a baton (1929).
John Philip Sousa conducting with a baton (1911).
J. B. Lully by Paul Mignard

A baton is a stick that is used by conductors primarily to enlarge and enhance the manual and bodily movements associated with directing an ensemble of musicians.


Other instruments such as the piano, harpsichord, and celesta may sometimes appear in a fifth keyboard section or may stand alone as soloist instruments, as may the concert harp and, for performances of some modern compositions, electronic instruments and guitars.

The Orchestre national du Capitole de Toulouse in public performance at the Grain Hall of Toulouse
Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra at the 2 March 1916 American premiere of Mahler's 8th Symphony
Conducting an orchestra
Apo Hsu, using a baton, conducts the NTNU Symphony Orchestra in Taipei, Republic of China

Orchestras are usually led by a conductor who directs the performance with movements of the hands and arms, often made easier for the musicians to see by use of a conductor's baton.

Military band

Group of personnel that performs musical duties for military functions, usually for the armed forces.

A massed group of military bands from several countries, at the 2011 Berlin Military Tattoo
Depiction of the Ottoman military band in 1720. The notion of a military band originates from the Ottomans.
A Tajik military band with Karnays at a military tattoo at Zhurihe Training Base in China, 2014.
Cameroonian and American military band members in Douala, March 2015
The first Modern Ethiopian army band parading in March 1934 across Addis Ababa
Ethiopian National Defence Force Marching Band(EDFMB)
Ethiopian Federal Police Marching Band at Meskel Square in the heart of Addis Ababa, performing at a concert honoring Meakel
A Senegalese Timpini player in the Red Guard of Senegal
The Alto Peru Fanfare Band of the Argentine Regiment of Mounted Grenadiers is an all-brass mounted band.
The Military Band of the Independence Dragoons (1st Cavalry Regiment), the official presidential band of Brazil and one of two senior bands under the Brazilian Army.
The band of the Royal 22nd Regiment at the Citadelle of Quebec, in 2018. The band is one of 59 bands in the Canadian Armed Forces.
A mounted military band of the Chilean Army, in 2011
Barack Obama and Raúl Castro meeting with members of the Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces Band.
Jamaica Military Band performed with members of the United States naval band.
The regimental band of the Presidential Life Guard Dragoons Regiment is the only active mounted band in the Peruvian Armed Forces.
Steelpans are a type of instrument used by the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force Steel Orchestra.
The United States Marine Drum and Bugle Corps performed at the Marine Corps War Memorial in 2015.
The Central Military Band of the People's Liberation Army is the senior military band in the People's Republic of China.
The Republic of China's Air Force Band is one of several bands in the Republic of China Armed Forces.
The Presidential Security Force music detachment is responsible to play the national anthem during a state visit
The military band of the Indonesian National Armed Forces during a ceremony
Indonesian Navy musicians play alongside US Navy musicians
An Iranian military band during the Army Day celebrations in 2018.
The Israel Defense Forces Orchestra is the main musical ensemble of the Israel Defense Forces.
A percussionist member of the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force Band during the JSDF Marching Festival in 2013.
The Central Military Band of the Ministry of Defense of Kazakhstan at the 2016 SCO Military Tattoo
The North Korean combined military bands are known for their complex marching styles.
The Republic of Korea Army maintains a traditional daechwita band.
The bands of the Royal Malaysian Navy during the 2012 Hari Merdeka parade, in Kuala Lumpur.
Musicians of the Mongolian 014 Construction Unit in 2013.
A Tatmadaw band in a regular parade configuration
Buglers of the Philippine Marine Corps Drum and Bugle Team. The team is the only drum and bugle band in the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
The Singapore Armed Forces Band's drumline at the Virginia International Tattoo in 2017.
The band for the 3rd Infantry Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment performing at the royal funeral for Bejaratana, in Bangkok, Thailand
The bandmaster of the Harmonic Band of the Turkish Armed Forces.
Band for the Military Honour Guard Battalion of the Vietnam People's Army.
The Gardemusik Wien at the 34th Austrian Brass Music Festival
The Royal Life Guards Music Band, the seniormost military band in Danish Defence.
Members of the Kaartin soittokunta of the Finnish Armed Forces, perform at the Sweden International Tattoo.
Mounted members of the French Republican Guard Band, a fanfare band during Bastille Day in 2013.
The Staff Band of the Bundeswehr during the funeral of German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt.
The Hellenic Air Force Band during the 2011 International Military Music Festival at Spasskaya Tower
An Italian Bersaglieri fanfare band. As they lack percussion instruments, the band marches at a jogging pace.
The Latvian National Armed Forces maintain a number of military bands, such as the Central Band of the Latvian Navy.
Members of the Norwegian Royal Guards Band and Drill Team Company
The Representative Band of the Polish Air Force was established in 2002, merging two military bands from Jelenia Góra and Oleśnica.
The Representative Band of the Polish Navy has served the musical needs of the Navy since 1920.
The band of the Bydgoszcz garrison performing on May 3rd Constitution Day, 2014
Horse Charanga, the mounted band of the Portuguese National Republican Guard.
The regimental band for the Michael the Brave 30th Guards Brigade during the visit of Petro Poroshenko to Romania.
Depiction of a military band of the Imperial Russian Army during the Russo-Japanese War
The Moscow Garrison massed bands during the 2010 Moscow Victory Day Parade
Regional and local garrisons/military districts in Russia also maintain their own musical support services, such as the Military Band of the Eastern Military District.
Plain bugles are traditionally used in the bugle bands of the Spanish Legion.
The Life Guards' Dragoon Music Corps performing during the National Day of Sweden in 2012
The Band of the Vieux Grenadiers is a civilian group dressed in the uniforms of the Swiss military from the 18th century.
The Band of the Kyiv Presidential Honor Guard Battalion performing Frank-Walter Steinmeier's state visit to Ukraine
The band for the National Guard of Ukraine perform during the Independence Day of Ukraine in 2018.
The oldest band in the British Army is the Royal Artillery Band, which can trace its origins to the Battle of St. Quentin, in 1557.
The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment's Corp of Drums at the Lord Mayor's Show in 2010
The Royal Marines Band Service is the only musical wing presently active in the Royal Navy.
Massed bands of the British foot guards during the 2007 Trooping the Colour, an annual ceremony in which the military bands provide the music.
The Australian Army Band Corps, Canberra, 2013.
Fiji Military Forces Band performs as the USS Michael Murphy docks in Suva, Fiji.
The New Zealand Army Band

The conductor of a band commonly bears the title of Bandmaster or Director of Music.


Activity in the performing arts that occurs as preparation for a performance in music, theatre, dance and related arts, such as opera, musical theatre and film production.

Marco Ricci's "Prove per un'opera" ("Rehearsal of an Opera") depicts Pyrrhus and Demetrius being rehearsed at the Haymarket Theatre in 1709.
Russian Ground Forces Guards during a dress rehearsal for a military parade in Alabino, Moscow Oblast.
Laura Liguori playing Lilya Brik during a production rehearsal of Mayakovsky and Stalin.
Jack Benny at a rehearsal with members of the California Junior Symphony Orchestra, 1959
Steamcog band members at a rehearsal in September 2019.

Almost all mid- to large-group performances have a person who leads the rehearsals; this person may be a bandleader in a rock, country, or jazz setting; conductor in classical music (including opera); director in theatre or musical theatre; or film director for movies.

Music director

Person responsible for the musical aspects of a performance, production, or organization.

Major Tim Cooper, Director of Music of The Blues and Royals mounted band in London.

The title of "music director" or "musical director" is used by many symphony orchestras to designate the primary conductor and artistic leader of the orchestra.


Form of theatre in which music is a fundamental component and dramatic roles are taken by singers.

La Scala of Milan
Palais Garnier of the Paris Opéra
Macbeth at the Savonlinna Opera Festival in St. Olaf's Castle, Savonlinna, Finland, in 2007
Claudio Monteverdi
Antonio Vivaldi, in 1723
Private baroque theatre in Český Krumlov
Teatro Argentina (Panini, 1747, Musée du Louvre)
Illustration for the score of the original Vienna version of Orfeo ed Euridice
Giuseppe Verdi, by Giovanni Boldini, 1886
The Queen of the Night in an 1815 production of Mozart's Die Zauberflöte
Richard Wagner
Brünnhilde throws herself on Siegfried's funeral pyre in Wagner's Götterdämmerung
A performance of Lully's opera Armide in the Salle du Palais-Royal in 1761
Magdalena Kožená and Jonas Kaufmann in a scene from Carmen, Salzburg Festival 2012
Henry Purcell
Thomas Arne
The Mikado (Lithograph)
Feodor Chaliapin as Ivan Susanin in Glinka's A Life for the Tsar
Leoš Janáček in 1917
Score of Smetana's The Bartered Bride
Ferenc Erkel, the father of Hungarian opera
Scene from Uzeyir Hajibeyovs "Leyli and Majnun" opera. 1934. Azerbaijan State Academic Opera and Ballet Theater
Arnold Schoenberg in 1917; portrait by Egon Schiele
Stravinsky in 1921
The castrato Senesino, c. 1720
German opera orchestra from the early 1950s
Swedish opera singers in a tribute to Kjerstin Dellert and the Ulriksdal Palace Theatre at the 40-year jubilee in 2016 of its funding, renovation and subsequent reopening
Sydney Opera House

The performance is typically given in an opera house, accompanied by an orchestra or smaller musical ensemble, which since the early 19th century has been led by a conductor.


Honorific title of respect (plural: maestros or maestri).

Herbert von Karajan conducting in 1941

The word maestro is most often used in addressing or referring to conductors.

Basso continuo

Basso continuo parts, almost universal in the Baroque era (1600–1750), provided the harmonic structure of the music by supplying a bassline and a chord progression.

A harpsichordist and a bassist play continuo for a small group of singers.

The composition of the continuo group is often left to the discretion of the performers (or, for a large performance, the conductor), and practice varied enormously within the Baroque period.

Concert band

Performing ensemble consisting of members of the woodwind, brass, and percussion families of instruments, and occasionally including the harp, double bass, or bass guitar.

A full concert band—Indiana Wind Symphony in concert, 2014
A military band—The United States Army Band
A high school concert band—BHS Band in performance, 2013

The conductor of a band commonly bears the title of Bandmaster or Director of Music.

Louis Spohr

Spohr self-portrait
Bust of Spohr

Louis Spohr (, 5 April 1784 – 22 October 1859), baptized Ludewig Spohr, later often in the modern German form of the name Ludwig, was a German composer, violinist and conductor.