[en] The emergence of specialized cell types and their organisation into organs and tissues involve the temporal modulation of many genes that are essential for coordinating the correct timing of instructive signals. These transcriptional changes are orchestrated with a precision that reminds that of a classical symphony. Extracellular signals are transmitted to key integrators, which then orchestrate activation or repression of specific genes. In the last decade, class IIa HDACs have emerged as crucial regulators in various developmental and differentiation processes. This review focuses on the latest studies that have provided new insights into the biological functions of class IIa HDACs and discusses important aspects of their regulation. Elucidating cellular and molecular mechanisms by which functions of class IIa HDACs are modulated could potentially lead to new therapeutic opportunities for various diseases.