What Does A Conductor Do, Anyway?

I am frequently asked questions like, “What exactly are you doing up there when you wave your arms?” Or, “Do the musicians really need you, because it doesn’t look like they are watching you all the time?” And, “If the music for Beethoven’s Symphony №5 is the same as it’s always been, why does the orchestra need a conductor?” I truly enjoy answering these questions because, for those of us who have played in an ensemble, whether…