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They are among the most admired and feared figures in classical music. Here are 16 of the most talented, revolutionary and formidable classical legends of all time - the great conductors. On Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know about Classical Music, Sunday 13 July at 9pm, Catherine Bott asks 'What does a conductor actually do?"
Maazel was a child prodigy, making his podium debut at the age of eight. He had a reputation for excellent baton technique, of which he once said: “I don’t recognise stick technique per se. I don’t think I ever make the same motion twice in the same bar of music. The aim is to find a motion that responds to the need of a particular player at a particular moment. The player must be put at ease, so that he knows where he is and what is expected, and is free to concentrate on beauty of tone. There is no magic involved.”
Best known for his association with the LSO, Sir Colin Davis - who only died last year - is already a legendary name in conducting. The outpouring of sadness and fondness from the classical music world when he died was incredible to witness, proving he was just as much a hit with his peers as he was with his audiences.
This larger-than-life character reigned at the helm of the Berlin Philharmonic for 35 years. He was the first classical megastar of the recording era, selling some 200 million records.
A brilliant and controversial figure, Gergiev is the present principal conductor of the LSO. Reportedly a good friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Gergiev has denied that he and Putin are each other's children's godfathers. He is seen here conducting at the close of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.
An immigrant to the U.S.A. from Hungary, Reiner rose to fame as the conductor of the Chicago Symphony. He is remembered as a champion of modern composers - but admired Mozart best of all.
The brightest young thing on the international conducting scene, Dudamel is the music director of both the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He's even conducted penguins on Sesame Street - beat that, Fritz Reiner.
Many conductors today still consider Toscanini the greatest Verdian of them all. Not surprising, really, seeing as he actually began his musical life playing under Verdi himself. Toscanini also gave the première performances of 'La bohème' and 'Turandot', so he's basically a legend.
No-one could conduct Berlioz's music properly - so he started conducting it himself. He notoriously had the amazing ability to hear what each single instrument was doing even when the whole orchestra was playing together.
Stokowski is best known today as the conductor in Disney's 'Fantasia' but he did a lot more besides and was still conducting right up until his death at the age of 95. He was especially noted for preferring to conduct without a baton.
Once a bright young thing, Rattle rose to international prominence as conductor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. He then went on to conquer the notoriously hard to please Berlin Philharmonic, as well as his own cloud-like hair. But perhaps best of all, during the London 2012 Olympic opening ceremony, he took the LSO through a version of 'Chariots of Fire' with Mr. Bean on keyboards.
Bernstein was always captivating to watch - for either his extreme movements on the podium or his strongly emotional and often unusual approach to rhythm and tempo. One of classical music's real one-offs, we couldn't have a list of best conductors that didn't feature Lenny.
Alsop is one of the few women conductors who've really made a mark on the international music scene. Principal Conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony from 2002 to 2008, she also made history in 2007 as the first woman to be appointed music director of a major American orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony.
Ozawa broke new ground, not only as the Boston Symphony Orchestra's music director from 1973 until 2002, but also for wearing a white turtleneck when he conducted. Total cad.
Another genius who recently passed away, Abbado conducted at the greatest opera houses, and directed the world's finest orchestras. He succeeded Karajan at the helm of the Berlin Philharmonic - a hard act to follow in which he succeeded magnificently.
Klemperer was a perfectionist and you wouldn't, as a musician, want to be at the receiving end of his rather terrifyingly intense gaze. He was friends with Mahler, too, so y'know. He knew his stuff.
Rising to fame as conductor of the City of Birmingham Orchestra in 1924, Boult famously moved very little on the podium. In 1978, meeting Mark Elder backstage after a concert, Boult said to the young conductor, "I see you're one of the sweaty ones."