If you take a violin, you can make it sound 50 different ways. Not just pizzicato and played by the bow, but ponticello, and harmonics, and tremolos. If you take an oboe and play it, there's about one way you can make it sound: like an oboe.
Jazz is not the popular culture. Jazz is in the same position in our culture as classical music. A very small minority of people really love it.
I find respect for a mediocre British composer, as opposed to a really good American, ridiculous because they automatically respect a composer if he's from England.
Eighty percent of my pieces gravitate towards an A, as a tonal thing, not at the beginning, but somewhere in it.
You become a great composer when you win a Pulitzer. But I think that now it's a completely meaningless award.
The French Revolution is the ultimate modernist statement. Destroy everything. Don't build on the past. There is no past.
I'm glad I won it because when I grew up the Pulitzer was the award that every composer wanted and I was like that too.
I always conceive a piece as a different set of challenges.
Art is not only about angst.
I think art can reflect tragedy.
I have tremendous respect for film composers.
The structural thinking I use in the concert hall is unnecessary to most film projects, and most film composers make better use of the enormous range of pop and other materials and techniques required of them than I probably would, faced with the same challenge.
I think it's good for the composer to teach because you always have new students and you have to begin at the beginning and make things clear.
What I think of as style - and I've gotten to this over years of really thinking about it - is that style is the unconscious choices I make.
I don't think that the Pulitzer should be given the way it is. I think the competition should be anonymous. I think completely different people would win it if the names were taken off because a lot of it is done on relationships and names.
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