Roderick Cox

  • Words Stephanie d’Arc Taylor
  • Photography Dennis Weber

In Berlin, Stephanie d’Arc Taylor meets the man who makes music move—orchestra conductor Roderick Cox.

  • Words Stephanie d’Arc Taylor
  • Photography Dennis Weber

“I’ve pulled muscles. I have to stretch before and after concerts.”

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 th...

ISSUE 52

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