He trys to find out what a conductor does and how he or she does it.
Why does the person who makes no noise at the symphony concert get all the glory? Do the players have to like him/her? Is aggression the key to success? Or scholarship? Do players deliberately play badly for those they don't like? And if so, how do you counter it? What is the role of the audience? How much is done in rehearsal? And how much in the heat of the moment?
Brearley talks to conductors like Sir Charles Mackerras and Mark Elder about what they think they do, and also to orchestral chiefs, players and audiences about what they think of the results.