The conductor is the musical director of a choir or orchestra. The term is often used as a synonym for a conductor. Today it is still used in conjunction with conductors that conduct at the theater, more specifically, the opera and operetta, the regular repertoire performances. Otherwise, the term is rather dated and is still used in wind music, etc., so in ensembles that you still called chapels.


The conductor is originally not merely a conductor but also a composer and arranger for the orchestra, which he presides, and has far-reaching organizational tasks. From the 15th to the 19th century, he was the creative "head" of each polyphonic music making.

Hofkapellmeister were Joseph Haydn and Antonio Salieri. Due to the freedom of trade, which gradually since about 1800 prevailed, there was always more private chapels, who worked for dance and opera events often. Mozart struggled already against the function of Kapellmeister as a court official and remained all his life as a freelancer. Since there are conflicting views of the term conductor: He may be a formally conferred ( by the yard or by the city ) honorary title for an official or employee or on the contrary a symbol of the independent entrepreneur in the music scene.

From the mid- 18th to the mid 20th century there was the function of the theater musical director, who was responsible for the music of stage productions and next rehearsal and performance of existing pieces for the constant renewal of the repertoire had to make. Adolf Müller senior wrote about the middle of the 19th century to over 600 stage productions a largely new music. Franz von Suppe had to rehearse challenging at the same time composing operas and circus music and later operettas.

In ensembles with string instruments often was the concertmaster and conductor (or his deputy ). This was particularly common in dance music. Johann Strauss (father), and in its early days yet, Johann Strauss ( son ) initiated the first violinist night long their chapels, similar to today's DJs, and wrote during the day new music. The so-called Ländler the conductor usually is the founder and contact person of the formation today.

There were ( and are there sporadically even today ) and the first churches and cathedral music, military band or circus bandmaster. The military bands were the most common ensembles around 1900 and were engaged for dance and theater performances. Franz Lehár about began his career as a military bandmaster.

Against 1900, the occupations of the conductor and the composer parted more and more. Gustav Mahler for instance, who was both a conductor on other works as well as a composer and music arranger in the old tradition, was no longer taken seriously as a composer necessarily. His music Sided some critics with the derogatory term Kapellmeister music.


At larger opera houses that employ multiple conductors, band leaders is a job title today. The first conductor is the most senior conductors, music director of downstream and also perceives his behalf.

At some colleges of music, such as the Robert - Schumann-Hochschule in Dusseldorf, there is always still the graduating as Kapellmeister. Earlier obvious duties of Kapellmeister as composing and arranging or cultural management have shifted to other courses.

In the modern dance music and jazz in the name bandleader as head of a big band is common.

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