The child must know that he is a miracle, that since the beginning of the world there hasn’t been, and until the end of the world there will not be, another child like him.
The love of one’s country is a splendid thing. But why should love stop at the border? There is a brotherhood among all men. This must be recognized if life is to remain. We must learn the love of man.
Don’t play the notes. Play the meaning of the notes.
Each person has inside a basic decency and goodness. If he listens to it and acts on it, he is giving a great deal of what it is the world needs most. It is not complicated but it takes courage. It takes courage for a person to listen to his own goodness and act on it.
To the whole world you might be just one person, but to one person you might just be the whole world.
The miracle of Bach has not appeared in any other art. To strip human nature until its divine attributes are made clear, to inform ordinary activities with spiritual fervour, to give wings of eternity to that which is most ephemeral; to make divine things human and human things divine; such is Bach, the greatest and purest moment in music of all time.
What do we teach our children? . . . We should say to each of them: Do you know what you are? You are a marvel. You are unique . . . You may become a Shakespeare, a Michelangelo, a Beethoven. You have the capacity for anything.
To be a musician is a great privilege but it is also a very great responsibility. One must think that to be a musician is a gift – a gift from Nature. There is no great merit in us except in loving this gift with respect and devotion and doing everything possible to honor that gift by work and more work. We must work with conviction and humility, searching for beauty, simplicity, and the Truth. And it is for us musicians to do all in our power for a better world. Music must carry the message of beauty, of love and of peace.
Each second we live is a new and unique moment of the universe; a moment that never was before and never will be again.
The person who works and is never bored is never old. Work and interest in worthwhile things are the best remedy for age.
For the past eighty years I have started each day in the same manner. It is not a mechanical routine, but something essential to my daily life. I go to the piano, and play two preludes and fugues of Bach. I cannot think of doing otherwise. It is a sort of benediction on the house. But that is not its only meaning for me. It is a rediscovery of the world of which I have the joy of being a part. It fills me with awareness of the wonder of life, with a feeling of the incredible marvel of being a human being.
There is no substitute for work; what seems ease of performance comes from the greatest labor.
You must work, we must all work, to make the world worthy of its children.
I feel the capacity to care is the thing which gives life its deepest significance.
Music is the divine way to tell beautiful, poetic things to the heart.
The love of one’s country is a splendid thing. But why should love stop at the border?
As long as one can admire and love, then one is young forever.
The greatest respect an artist can pay to music is to give it life.
Let us not forget that the greatest composers were also the greatest thieves. They stole from everyone and everywhere.
I used to think that eighty was a very old age. Now I am ninety. I do not think this any more. As long as you are able to admire and to love, you are young.
The heart of the melody can never be put down on paper.
I see in the melody of Nature, God. It is a wonderful work of art. The spirit of the art is wonderful. And I feel that I am myself because I have never taken music lightly. Music is the manifestation of God, like everything else.
To live is not enough; we must take part.
Music must serve a purpose; it must be a part of something larger than itself, a part of humanity.
The truly important things in life – love, beauty, and one’s own uniqueness – are constantly being overlooked.