20th-century Conductor Quotes
There is something about music that keeps its distance even at the moment that it engulfs us. It is at the same time outside and away from us and inside and part of us. In one sense it dwarfs us, and in another we master it. We are led on and on, and yet in some strange way we never lose control.
First of all, when you enter a conservatory, it's already too late. The kind of connection that has to be made with an instrument, be it a piano, strings, a wind instrument, it really has to start much younger – five, six, seven - eight years-old is already getting late. The instrument must really become an extension of yourself. That neuromuscular connection between intention and realization is something that really has to be started very young. And the years between nine or ten and twenty, that's when one should learn the whole repertoire.
The nice thing about an -ism, someone once observed, is how quickly it becomes a wasm. Some musical wasms—academic-wasm, for example, and its dependent varieties of modern-wasm and Serial-wasm—continue to linger on artifical life support, thought, and continue to threaten the increasingly fragile classical ecosystem.
I come to a performance of music that I know very well as if I were performing it for the first time. Every day is a new day, a new experience. This is the way I approach a masterpiece. A masterpiece can never age - it's only the people who perform it or listen to it who become insensitive to it. If you come with a fresh feeling toward a masterpiece, it will always feel fresh and give you the benefit of its genius.