After a decade-long conducting career in his native Israel, Itay Talgam has reinvented himself as a "conductor of people" — in government, academia, business and education. He is the author of The Ignorant Maestro.

Why you should listen

Itay Talgam finds metaphors for organizational behavior -- and models for inspired leadership -- within the workings of the symphony orchestra. Imagining music as a model for all spheres of human creativity, from the classroom to the boardroom, Talgam created the Maestro Leadership Program.

Talgam's workshops aim to help everyday people develop a musician's sense of collaboration, and a conductor's sense of leadership: that inner sense of being intuitively, even subconsciously, connected to your fellow players, giving what they need and getting what you need. It's this art of listening and reacting in the moment that makes for a swinging jazz combo, a sublime string quartet, a brilliant orchestra -- and great teams at work.

Before he conducted people, Talgam conducted music, including numerous orchestras in Europe. He was the first Israeli conductor to perform with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra and the Leipzig Opera house. His book, The Ignorant Maestro, was published in 2015.

What others say

“An orchestra ... gives the conductor an opportunity to create an organized sound with one gesture. Everything is about nuance, and Talgam showed what nuance can do.” — Daniel Von Gool,

Itay Talgam’s TED talk

More news and ideas from Itay Talgam

Lead like the great conductors: Itay Talgam on

October 21, 2009

An orchestra conductor faces the ultimate leadership challenge: creating perfect harmony without saying a word. In this charming talk, Itay Talgam demonstrates the unique styles of six great 20th-century conductors, illustrating crucial lessons for all leaders. (Recorded at TEDGlobal, July 2009, Oxford, UK. Duration: 20:52) Twitter URL: Watch Itay Talgam’s talk on, where […]

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Twitter Snapshot: Itay Talgam conducts better leadership

July 24, 2009

Conductor-turned-business motivator Itay Talgam showed a collection of enlightening and amusing clips of famous conductors doing what it really is that they do best: lead. The process of drawing out beauty from a brigade of musicians is a powerful metaphor with real applications for anyone who manages people. Our prolific #TEDsters captured the best moments: […]

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