Maestro (English: /ˈmaɪstroʊ/, 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. Composers, performers, impresarios, music directors, conductors and music teachers are all frequently given this title.

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

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 there "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.

See also


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  • maestro — [ maɛstro ] n. m. • 1817; mot it. « maître » ♦ Compositeur de musique ou chef d orchestre célèbre. ⇒ maître. Des maestros. Plaisant Chef d orchestre. Bravo, maestro ! ● maestro nom masculin (italien maestro, maître, du latin magister) Nom donné à …   Encyclopédie Universelle

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  • maestro — (n.) master of music, great teacher or composer, 1797, from It. maestro, lit. master, from L. magisterium, accusative of magister (see MASTER (Cf. master) (n.)). Applied in Italian to eminent musical composers. Meaning conductor, musical director …   Etymology dictionary

  • maestro — maestro, ra sustantivo 1) pedagogo, profesor, instructor. Pedagogo se aplica especialmente al que enseña a los niños y es sinónimo de maestro de escuela, es decir, el encargado de la educación de los niños. Profesor e instructor se aplican a… …   Diccionario de sinónimos y antónimos

  • maestro — maèstro m DEFINICIJA glazb. 1. izvorno: učitelj, majstor 2. pov. a. pratilac na čembalu b. zborovođa 3. razg. titula uglednih glazbenika, osobito dirigenata ETIMOLOGIJA tal. maestro ← lat. magister …   Hrvatski jezični portal

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  • Maestro — Ma*es tro (m[imac]s tr[ o]; It. m[aum]*[asl]s tr[ o]), n. [It., fr. L. magister. See {Master}.] A master in any art, especially in music; a composer or orchestra conductor. [1913 Webster +PJC] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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