NPR's Deceptive Cadence recently posted an article about an orchestra's need for a conductor. Does an orchestra really need a conductor? A recent study by Yiannis Aloimonos, of the University of Maryland, came to the same conclusion as every orchestra in the world. The answer is yes; and the more experienced the conductor, the better.
When I saw the headline for this article, my first thought was, "Of course an orchestra needs a conductor, this is self evident. We don't need a study to show us that the sky is blue." This is obvious to musicians, but apparently it is not obvious to non-musicians. Now we have empirical proof that the conductor is doing much more than just waving his or her arms. Go read the article to see how they conducted the study.