How to build a conductor from the ground up

How to build a conductor from the ground up


norman lebrecht

January 05, 2014

Our eye-popping discussion of footwear for orchestras has led, inexorably, to the question of maestros and their mules. What is the current benchmark in podium puppies? Who wears Lully loafers? Which is the best shod baton of them all?

Maestros, you are going to have to walk a long, long way to beat the immaculate  Christopher Bell, Chorus Master of the Edinburgh Festival Chorus, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra Junior Chorus, the Belfast Philharmonic Choir and, in the US, of the chorus at the Grant Park Music Festival in Chicago.

One of his soaring mezzos, Beena David, has sent us a selection from maestro’s foot locker.

conductor trainers1

Must be Ein Deutsches Requiem Day.

conductor trainers3

Sock it to us, Maestro!

conductor trainers4

A teeny bit more pianissimo?


Oh, those boots are not made for walking. They make serious music.


  • Anon says:

    Christopher has quite a sock collection, too, as I recall!

  • JBB says:

    Harrumph. I wouldn’t be caught dead in any of the first three pairs. And jeans? Infra dig, I say.

  • CRMS says:

    And at the other end of the spectrum is Barbara Hannigan conducting the Gothenburg Symphony while wearing stilettos …

  • Beena says:

    Jbb – I think it would be strange if he was dressed up. It’s a summer festival, and sometimes Chicago reaches over 100°. Besides, not even Mo. Muti dresses up for all our rehearsals. Last season, he wore a pair of awesome white pants/jeans… He looked so good in them that I went home and tried to convince my boyfriend to buy an identical pair!

  • Will says:

    You’re becoming the BuzzFeed of classical music. Stop.