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"Maestra" redirects here. For the 2012 documentary film, see Maestra (film).
For other uses, see Maestro (disambiguation).
Herbert von Karajan conducting in 1941

Maestro (/ˈmstr/; Italian: [maˈestro]) (from the Italian maestro, meaning "master" or "teacher"[1]) is a title of extreme respect given to a master musician. The term is most commonly used in the context of Western classical music and opera. This is associated with the ubiquitous use of Italian vocabulary for classical music terms. The title of maestro may be bestowed upon composers, performers, impresarios, music directors, conductors and music teachers.[example needed]

In the Italian opera world, the term is not only used for the conductor, but also for musicians who act as répétiteurs and assistant conductors during performances (maestro sostituto or maestro collaboratore). Even the prompter (maestro suggeritore) can be referred to by this title. (There is no agreement on how to address a woman conductor, as the feminine equivalent maestra denotes "schoolmistress" in Italian.)

There are similar concepts in many other cultures of the world; for example, a traditional term of respect for a master of Persian traditional music is the Persian word ostâd.

Usage outside music[edit]

By extension, it is used in English to designate a master in an artistic field, usually someone with strong knowledge who instructs others in the field, though the term may sometimes be conferred through sheer respect for an artist's works. The word is sometimes used in fine arts such as painting and sculpture, though their "master", as in Old Master, is far more common. Maestro is used in the sport of fencing, for a fencing instructor, and may be used in other sports to convey respect for an individual's skill.

Particularly influential U.S. Federal Reserve Chairmen are also called maestro. [2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Online Etymology Dictionary
  2. ^ "Ben Bernanke: The New Maestro?". The Wall Street Journal. 2010-07-16. 

Further reading[edit]