The stereotypical orchestra conductor is a broody spirit—a whirlwind of wild hair, flashing eyes and melodramatic physicality. But the award-winning conductor Roderick Cox has struck a chord, despite his perfectly sensible haircut. At age 32, he has already performed (or will debut this year) with orchestras in Los Angeles, Paris, London and New York. Over cappuccinos near his home in Berlin, Cox took exception to the idea that conducting is defined by physical histrionics. Rather, the success of a conductor is determined by whether they can develop an opinion on a piece of music, and convince an orchestra to tell a new version of an old story. As a black man from Georgia, Cox’s profile offers the overwhelmingly white world of classical music a new perspective: A 2014 study by the League of American This story is from Kinfolk Issue Thirty-six Buy Now Related Stories Music Issue 43 Brendan Yates The Turnstile frontman on hardcore's sweet side. Music Issue 43 Cat Power Musician Chan Marshall opens the door to a different dimension. Music Issue 42 Dev Hynes The boundless potential of being a master of none. Music Issue 41 Jon Batiste The band leader on his genre-busting year. Arts & Culture Music Issue 36 My Favorite Thing Conductor Roderick Cox views his baton as an extension of his own body. Music Issue 36 Peer Review Harry Harris celebrates the legacy of enigmatic performer and “songwriter’s songwriter” Laura Nyro.