Best Classical Music Conductor

Furtwangler? Toscanini? Karajan? Abbado? Bernstein? ...... Which one is your favorite? Why?
Temirkanov is very musically and emotionally gifted. He is the only living conductor who conducts with complete artistic freedom (much like Bernstein did, but a different style.) Dutoit is very consistantly good recording to recording. (So was Karajan.)
My favorite conductor you probably have never heard of is Benjanmin (Ben) Zander.
I dig Simon Rattle. More because he is adventurous with the material that he chooses to record than because of his conducting. I also have been very impressed with Esa Pekka Salonen.
Sugarbrie: A good nomination. Zander's reading of the Mahler 9th on Telarc is superb. Which orchestra is he affiliated with at this time? I'm still thinking of my nominations, but here's a thought to add--live or recorded? For example, while I think Dutoit's recordings have excellent sound, I've felt that he was too restrained in some of his interpretations. Same with Slatkin. But having heard both of them conduct the NY Philharmonic live, I would not have that reservation about them (others, maybe, but not that one). My favorite all-time conductor, live, is probably Bernstein, because his love for the music and the music-makers came through so clearly. Recorded, I'll have to think about that.
Ben Zander is a professor at a school for gifted young musicians that is connected with the New England Conservatory in Boston. His orchestra is the Boston Philharmonic (BP) made up of pros, NEC students and others. It was formed about 20 years ago. Ben was hired back then to conduct the local Boston Civic Orchestra. When the board of directors found his style too off-the-wall for them, they fired him. The entire orchestra quit in protest; formed the Philharmonic; and the rest is history. His landmark recording is the Rite of Spring with the BP. We are use to the small blurbs in the Penguin guide to classical music. The original Penguin review of Ben's Rite is a page an a half!! The Mahler 9th recording has a third CD with Ben giving a discussion of the piece along with a map of his orchestra setup. Was a grammy nominee. If you search "Zander" in or you can find some of them. If you cannot find recordings such as the Rite of Spring you can get them from the Boston Philharmonic directly. Web site is .org -- I use to live near Boston and had the pleasure of hearing him live which is even better.