I was curious about this, but I'm not sure if this is where it should be posted. What does the conductor of an orchestra do? Okay, obviously, they conduct. They queue the beginning of each song, queue breaks, the end of the piece, whatever. They count a tempo and maintain it, fine. But what else? It seems that there's more, because whenever I go to the symphony, the Playbill has a bio on the conductor that would rival the most accomplished orchestral musician. Is it a social status position? Also, do they usually start as an instrumentalist, composer, etc.? I remember reading that in classical and romantic periods that the composer of the piece conducted, but this is certainly not always true now. Anybody know?