Who Was the First Documented Conductor?

Jean Baptiste LullyDid you know that Jean-Baptiste Lully, the first documented conductor, was the first musician to use a baton. It was a heavy, six-foot-long staff that he pounded on the ground in time to the music. Lully is also credited with the invention in the 1650s of the French overture, a form used extensively in the Baroque and Classical eras, especially by Johann Sebastian Bach and George Frideric Händel.

Lully died in a very unusual way: one day, at a concert to celebrate the king’s return to health, he accidentally stuck the staff into his foot. Refusing treatment for the injury, he contracted gangrene and died two months later.