Conductors: The Insider

His lofty forehead reminds one female worshiper of Beethoven. To most people, however, Conductor Pierre Boulez looks more like a career librarian.

Glamour, image and sex appeal are not his bag. At a rehearsal, he is one plain musician talking to others. He may interrupt the music to say, "Take some of that color out of the A flat," or "Make this more crescendo." But he never indulges in exhibitionism or talkfests, which often earn other conductors only the scorn of their players. At a concert, he makes few flourishes in the direction...