Art Seen: The language behind the baton

How conductors convey musical ideas through movement.

Conductor Quinn Mason raises his baton to unify the orchestra. 

When conductors step up to the podium, they speak volumes, in silence. Whether through the glance of an eye, the flick of a baton or full-bodied movements, a conductor communicates both the notes written on the pages of a score and the ephemeral qualities that convey the essence of music. In this video, Quinn Mason, guest conductor for Orchestra Seattle; Julia Tai, musical director of Philharmonia Northwest; and Thomas Dausgaard, music director of the Seattle Symphony, unveil the art behind the physical movements that direct orchestral music.

About the Authors & Contributors

Matt M. McKnight

Matt M. McKnight

Matt McKnight is formerly a visual journalist at Crosscut, where he covered a variety of political, social and environmental issues around the Pacific Northwest.