I saw Pierre Boulez conduct about twenty times. The last was in 2010, when he led the Chicago Symphony, Michelle DeYoung, and Falk Struckmann in Bluebeard's Castle. The most remarkable was the engulfing presentation of Répons at Carnegie in 2003, but I also prize memories of the Mahler Sixth, with the Staatskapelle Berlin, in 2009; the Berg Three Pieces for Orchestra, with the London Symphony, in 2000; and the Rite, with the London Symphony, in 1995 and again in 2005. The first time was in 1992, at the New York Philharmonic's 150th-anniversary celebration of itself. Zubin Mehta, Kurt Masur, and Boulez shared conducting duties; Boulez led La Mer. On YouTube you can find a video of the performance; working under what must have been peculiar conditions, the conductor is not at his best, but at the end of the third movement he elicits a perfectly Boulezian state of disciplined frenzy. The image above shows him holding the final sustained chord as if upon a silver platter — the maître d' at the Grand Hotel Abyss. This was, sadly, his final appearance with the orchestra that he guided through one of its most inventive periods.