batons and those who wield them

A great article from the San Francisco Chronicle about the baton that most (but not all) conductors use to conduct the orchestra. And a reminder that we have a world-class baton maker right here in Portland, Oregon: Alan Pierce, former bass trombonist of the Oregon Symphony, who makes batons for OSO music director Carlos Kalmar and many other conductors.

Here are some articles and interviews with Alan:

2 Replies to “batons and those who wield them”

  1. Wow, interesting. It’s just an aside, but the part that shocked me was the line about Michael Tilson Thoms “turning 65 this month.” Yikes, I still remember when he was the wunderkind music director in Buffalo. So if he’s 65, I must be … well, as I said, yikes.

    1. Timpanist Dick Horowitz of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, now in something like his 63rd year in said band, has been making batons for conductors for generations. Years ago my dad, Gerald Kagan, commissioned by the Met, made one truly spectacular objet d’art baton which was a special presentation for Mtro. Guiseppe Patane, one of the great opera conductors. A humble man, he was quite flabbergasted at the time and in his very-limited English could barely get any words out.

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