Top 112 Quotes & Sayings by Famous Conductors

Explore popular quotes by famous conductors.
The conductor of an orchestra doesn’t make a sound. He depends, for his power, on his ability to make other people powerful.
A painter paints pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence.
Journalism is about covering important stories-with a pillow, until they stop moving. — © David Burge
Journalism is about covering important stories-with a pillow, until they stop moving.
The art of conducting consists in knowing when to stop conducting to let the orchestra play.
As you get older, the assumption is you get wiser. I try to earn it by not staying still, not resting on laurels. A lot of people in other professions are retired at my age. I care about music more than ever.
If Beethoven were sent to nursery school today, they would medicate him, and he would be a postal clerk.
A tenor is not a man but a disease.
What is a career, actually? Nobody can destroy my career. Only I can destroy my career, if I am a bad conductor. I've gone to lesser known orchestras in Scotland and Sweden, Detroit, but I have enjoyed the places I've been, and had success. I like the close community relations, and to solve problems.
I want to say to all the young women out there, as I say to all young people: believe in yourselves, follow your passion and never give up, because you will create a future filled with possibility.
Modern music is three farts and a raspberry, orchestrated.
Only life suffered can transform a symphony from a collection of notes into a message of humanity.
Steinway is the only piano on which the pianist can do everything he wants. And everything he dreams.
"True expertise is the most potent form of authority." — © Victoria Bond
"True expertise is the most potent form of authority."
The only time you realize you have a reputation is when you're not living up to it.
Musical compositions, it should be remembered, do not inhabit certain countries, certain museums, like paintings and statues. The Mozart Quintet is not shut up in Salzburg: I have it in my pocket.
Watch out for emergencies. They are your big chance.
It's not what you take but what you leave behind that defines greatness.
Many people learn how to talk, but they don't learn how to listen. Listening to one another is an important thing in life. And music tells us how to do that.
If a young man at the age of twenty-three can write a symphony like that, in five years he will be ready to commit murder.
In my lifetime, there have been three vocal miracles: Caruso, Ruffo and Ponselle. Apart from these there have been several wonderful singers.
In these days of political, personal and economic disintegration, music is not a luxury, it's a necessity; not simply because it is therapeutic, nor because it is the universal language, but because it is the persistent focus of our intelligence, aspiration and goodwill.
You can play Bach on the piano, a symphony orchestra or a quartet of saxophones, but let's stop this silly, childish business of knit your own musicology
Music has to be recognized as an…agent of social development in the highest sense, because it transmits the highest values - solidarity, harmony, mutual compassion. And it has the ability to unite an entire community and to express sublime feelings.
Teaching music to children is the most important thing in life, next to parenting, that a person can do.
Compassion is the litmus test and culminating touchstone of a spirituality of Earth.
A happy disposition is largely a disposition to make others happy. One life permeates all things, and there is no corner of the cosmos too remote to feel its heart throb.
If you don't know what to do, find your worst Piece and look for a better Square.
My intention always has been to arrive at human contact without enforcing authority. A musician, after all, is not a mili- tary officer. What matters most is human contact. The great mys- tery of music making requires real friendship among those who work together. Every member of the orchestra knows I am with him and her in my heart.
I don't think an opera house is ever a place that can make you entirely happy.
Look at their eyes. If their eyes are shining, you know you're doing it.
Ladies of the choir, I want you to sound like twenty-two women having babies without chloroform.
I believe in a passionately strong feeling for the poetry of life - for the beautiful, the mysterious, the romantic, the ecstatic - the loveliness of Nature, the lovability of people, everything that excites us, everything that starts our imagination working, LAUGHTER, gaiety, strength, heroism, love, tenderness, every time we see - however dimly - the godlike that is in everyone and want to kneel in reverence.
Learning, like love, death and eating, are fundamental human activities. It's at the core of human existence and its character has a resilience of continuity that is part of what makes up human nature. That is not fundamentally going to change.
I believe that interpretation should be like a transparent glass, a window for the composer's music.
I can't wait until dissent is patriotic again.
how absurd human beings are and how magnificent.
In the beginning was rhythm.
As a conductor I find the hardest tasks are to listen to the instinct of a musician and to hear the music behind the notes. — © Edward Gardner
As a conductor I find the hardest tasks are to listen to the instinct of a musician and to hear the music behind the notes.
I have had much pleasure in working with Orphei Drängar during my time as chief conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, and I consider OD to be one of the most brilliant men´s choirs in the world. The singers are highly professional and their repertoire is of a very wide range, but then they have been trained for years by Eric Ericson, the world´s leading choir conductor. I also admire the strength and the beauty of their voices. OD is an extraordinary powerful choir!
South Africa is a country built on possibility. Possibility lies in making a difference and creating value from a situation - without denying that certain issues exist.
What our profession is all about is interacting with people.
Our real debt ceiling isn't decided by Washington; it's decided by Beijing.
On matters of intonation and technicalities I am more than a martinet - I am a martinetissimo.
The best conducting technique is that which achieves the maximum musical result with the minimum effort. The only general rule is to infuse all gestures with precision, clarity, and vitality.
It is the tuning of the universe... It's as if at the beginning of the symphony God turns up the volume just a tiny bit.
In our profession someone can be very brilliant and acquire total technical mastery. Yet in the last resort, the only thing that really counts is his quality as a human being. For music is created by Man for Man. And if someone sees nothing more than notes in it, this can perhaps be very interesting, but it cannot enrich him. And music should exist for one purpose only; to enrich Man and give him something he has lost in most respects.
The major difference between the 'best' and the 'average' is that the 'best' get as much pleasure from practice as performance.
Conscience is that which hurts when everything else feels marvelous. — © Leopold Stokowski
Conscience is that which hurts when everything else feels marvelous.
He who reaches all his goals has probably not chosen them high enough.
Imagine Martin Luther King saying, 'I have a dream ... But I don't know if the others will buy it.'
I never use a score when conducting my orchestra... Does a lion tamer enter a cage with a book on how to tame a lion?
In this world, there's even room for quality.
My job is to awaken possibility in other people.
The Mozart Quintet is not shut up in Salzburg: I have it in my pocket.
When you make a mistake, throw your hands in the air and say "How fascinating!"
This is the moment — this is the most important moment right now. Which is: We are about contribution. That’s what our job is. It’s not about impressing people. It’s not about getting the next job. It’s about contributing something.
The highest reaches of music come thrillingly close to the central core and essence of life itself.
I have a definition of success. For me it's very simple. It's not about wealth and fame and power. It's about how many shining eyes I have around me.
Music can be all things to all men. It is like a great dynamic sun in the center of a solar system which sends out its rays and inspiration in every direction... It is as if the heavens open and a divine voice calls. Something in our souls responds and understands.
Compared to the typical Zim/Chomsky-spouting grad school clown, a trucker with a screaming eagle hat is a paragon of political nuance.
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