"sounds" to me that conductors are beginning to become their own "brands" in that boards of directors will hire them and people will attend concerts because of them alone. Don't sell the bacon, sell the sizzle. Simpler to sell one person, the conductor, to the audience and the more they boys and girls in marketing can make him the star of the show, the better. The music and the musicians then become mere accompaniments to the Conductor. Yuk. And in that one review about the conductor and the soloist ("bring him to heal") I see parallels with the way NBA and NFL games are touted: "Kobe Bryant takes on LeBron James" or "Michael Vick versus Eli Manning this week on CBS", hyping the stars and making a game seem more like a boxing match. I can see a future headline now: "This week at the Symphonie de Montreal Nathan Brock takes on "the wildman of the steppes," Vengerov. In their last battle Vengerov bested Brock, but now "Le Conducteur," as he's known, is out for revenge. Or maybe we should say reVengerov."
On a happier note....great to hear from you Viola-tor! Whatcha been up ta?