Performance Today

with host Fred Child

Gergiev's Toothpick

Valery Gergiev is one of the most dynamic conductors of our time: expressive face, penetrating eyes, dramatic gyrations and leaps on the podium. But he also likes to be very precise -- he generally conducts, not with a baton, but with a toothpick held between his right thumb and forefinger. Last month, Gergiev opened the new season with the London Symphony Orchestra by using a toothpick to conduct "Daphnis and Chloe" by Maurice Ravel.