Don't be too dismissive of children. While it's true that few children are artists, all artists are children.
Arguably, no artist grows up: If he sheds the perceptions of childhood, he ceases being an artist.
It's not evil that's ruining the earth, but mediocrity. The crime is not that Nero played while Rome burned, but that he played badly.
Music is the sole art which evokes nostalgia for the future.
Inspiration could be called inhaling the memory of an act never experienced.
Nothing is a waste that makes a memory.
If music could be translated into human speech, it would no longer need to exist.
Divine fires do not blaze each day but an artist functions in their afterglow, hoping for their recurrence.
The art of translation lies less in knowing the other language than in knowing your own.
Quarrels in France strengthen a love affair, in America they end it.
The beautiful are shyer than the ugly, for they move in a world that does not ask for beauty.
composition is notation of distortion of what composers think they've heard before. Masterpieces are marvelous misquotations.
To start writing about your life is, from one standpoint, to stop living it. You must avoid adventures today so as to make time for registering those of yesterday.
Intelligence is silence, truth is being invisible. But what a racket I make in declaring this.
The Great don't innovate, they fertilize seeds planted by lackeys, they leave to others the inhaling of the flowers whose roots they've manured. A deceptive memory may be the key to their originality.
Art's the biggest vanity: the assumption that one's view of peace or fright or beauty is permanently communicable.
In music the present is extended.
Humor is the ability to see three sides to one coin.
Bel canto is to opera what pole-vaulting is to ballet.
If a composer could state in words what being a composer means, he would no longer need to be a composer.
All men are forced into one of two categories: those with eleven fingers and those without.
Artists, by definition innocent, don't steal. But they do borrow without giving back.
The same piece of music alters at each hearing. But oh, the need to repeat and repeat and repeat unchanged the sexual experience.
To see itself through, music must have idea or magic. ... Music with neither dies young though rich.
Minor artists borrow, great ones steal.
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