The World’s Greatest Conductors

At the heart of all orchestras is the conductor, who chooses and shapes the compositions to be performed while infusing some of his or her personality in it. They are some of the most respected figures in the classical music world, along with some celebrity performers but often don’t receive the same amount of attention from the media. This article will discuss some of the most famous ones throughout history.

  • First on the list is Herbert von Karajan (1908-1989). Known for his exuberant personality, he conducted at the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra for 35 years. His recordings have sold in excess of 200 million and this puts him as the first superstar conductor of the recording period.
  • Second on this list is Sir Colin Davis (1927-2013). He’s renowned for is time with the London Symphony Orchestra. He was a favourite among patrons of the classical world and his funeral saw many visitors from all over the world.
  • Third on this list is the composer and conductor Hector Berlioz (1803-1869). Due to the dissatisfaction of other conductors’ efforts with his works, he took it upon himself to to that job himself. He was famous for his fine hearing – being able to hear what individual instruments where doing during performance amongst all the others.
  • The fourth on the list is Claudio Abbado (1933-2014). He was a great intellectual and had a prolific career conducting with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra as well as at some of the world’s grandest opera houses.
  • Fifth on the list is Sir Simon Rattle (1955-present). Rattle ascended to fame as conductor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and had the honor later in his career of being conductor at the Berlin Philharmonic. He also conducted the London Symphony Orchestra at the 2012 Olympic opening ceremony.
  • Sixth and last on this list of legends is Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990). He gave riveting performances full of extreme energy and wild movement delivered with strong emotion. He was many things but most of all – an unusual artist.