Composer Quotes

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    Art Munson

    Mark Holden just sent me some great quotes. Thanks Mark!

    Claude Debussy: “Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.”

    Leonard Bernstein: “To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time.”

    Bela Bartok: “Competitions are for horses, not artists.”

    Franz Liszt: “Mournful and yet grand is the destiny of the artist.”

    Gustav Mahler: “I am hitting my head against the walls, but the walls are giving way.”

    Igor Stravinsky: “Lesser artists borrow, great artists steal.”

    Edward Elgar: “I always said God was against art and I still believe it.”

    Johannes Brahms: “Without craftsmanship, inspiration is a mere reed shaken in the wind.”

    Joseph Haydn: “There was no one near to confuse me, so I was forced to become original.”

    George Bizet: “As a musician I tell you that if you were to suppress adultery, fanaticism, crime, evil, the supernatural, there would no longer be the means for writing one note.”

    J.S. Bach: “I was obliged to be industrious. Whoever is equally industrious will succeed equally well.”

    Erik Satie: “The musician is perhaps the most modest of animals, but he is also the proudest.”

    Robert Schumann: “To send light into the darkness of men’s hearts – such is the duty of the artist.”

    Dmitri Shostakovich: “A creative artist works on his next composition because he was not satisfied with his previous one.”

    Richard Strauss: “I may not be a first-rate composer, but I am a first-class second-rate composer.”

    John Cage: “I can’t understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I’m frightened of the old ones.”

    Karlheinz Stockhausen: “I’m an adventurer. I like invention, I like discovery.”

    Benjamin Britten: “The old idea of a composer suddenly having a terrific idea and sitting up all night to write it is nonsense. Nighttime is for sleeping.”

    Giacomo Puccini: “Inspiration is an awakening, a quickening of all man’s faculties, and it is manifested in all high artistic achievements.”

    Malcolm Arnold: “Music is the social act of communication among people, a gesture of friendship, the strongest there is.”

    Maurice Ravel: “The only love affair I have ever had was with music.”

    Richard Wagner: “Imagination creates reality.”

    Compiled by Classic FM – some associated photos at:!

    Art Munson

    Mark wanted to add one more.

    “If you want to make a small fortune in the music business ….start with a big one.”

    Love that one!


    If you want to make a small fortune in the music business ….start with a big one.”


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