Some articles —notably the notorious «Schoenberg is Dead» (1951)— were deliberately provocative and veered towards polemic. Others dealt with questions of technique and aesthetics in a deeply reflective if sometimes elliptical manner. These writings have mostly been republished under the titles Notes of an Apprenticeship, Orientations: Collected Writings, and Boulez on Music Today, as well as within reprints of the journal of the Darmstadt composers of the time, Die Reihe. Boulez was also world-famous conductor, having directed most of the world's leading symphony orchestras and ensembles since the late fifties. He served both as Chief Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra from 1971-1975, and Music Director of the New York Philharmonic from 1971-1977.
He is currently the Principal Guest Conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Boulez was particularly famed for his polished interpretations of twentieth century classics - Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel, Gustav Mahler, Arnold Schoenberg, Igor Stravinsky, Leoš Janáček, Béla Bartók, Anton Webern and Edgard Varèse - as well as for numerous performances of contemporary music. Clarity, precision, rhythmic agility and a respect for the composers' intentions as notated in the musical score were the hallmarks of his conducting style. He never used a baton, conducting with his hands alone. His nineteenth century repertoire focused upon Ludwig van Beethoven, Hector Berlioz, Robert Schumann and especially Richard Wagner.
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