Concertmaster waves Zubin’s baton to save the night

Concertmaster waves Zubin’s baton to save the night


norman lebrecht

October 27, 2016

Two hours before Sunday’s concert with the Maggio Musicale orchestra, conductor Xu Zhong called in sick.

Concertmaster Domenico Pierini arrived at the theatre with an hour to go and no conductor to be found. He was asked if he could conduct Debussy’s Nocturnes and La Mer.

Pierini said he hadn’t brought a baton.

They gave him one that belongs Zubin Mehta, the Maggio’s longstanding music director. Pierini was thrilled.

The concert was, by all accounts, successful.




  • NYMike says:

    Not the easiest pieces to conduct, either.

  • Bruce says:

    I’ve played for conductors who use long batons, short batons, pencils long or short, or no baton at all. (Never seen anybody do the Gergiev toothpick thing.) Also, occasionally, conductors who have lost their baton in mid-performance. I never noticed that it made a difference in the clarity of their conducting. Therefore I figure conductors use them because they like to have something in their hand when they conduct. (And I guess it’s tradition, going back to Lully, all that.) Anyone else have thoughts on the topic?

    • Charles says:

      Good observation…..amazing how few understand how to use the stick. Richard Lert one of the few….beautiful stick technique.

  • David Štech says:

    Umm… where was the assistant conductor??