Leonard Bernstein quotes

Born
August 25, 1918 Lawrence, Massachusetts, U.S.

Died
October 14, 1990.

Occupation
Composer, conductor, author, music lecturer, pianist.

Leonard Bernstein was an American composer, conductor and pianist.

Technique is communication: the two words are synonymous in conductors.
– Leonard Bernstein

I’m no longer quite sure what the question is, but I do know that the answer is Yes.
– Leonard Bernstein

Stillness is our most intense mode of action. It is in our moments of deep quiet that is born every idea, emotion, and drive which we eventually honor with the name of action. We reach highest in meditation, and farthest in prayer. In stillness every human being is great.
– Leonard Bernstein

I’m not interested in having an orchestra sound like itself. I want it to sound like the composer.
– Leonard Bernstein

I’ve been all over the world and I’ve never seen a statue of a critic.
– Leonard Bernstein

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

When I am with composers, I say I am a conductor. When I am with conductors, I say I am a composer.
– Leonard Bernstein

The second fiddle. I can get plenty of first violinists, but to find someone who can play the second fiddle with enthusiasm.
– Leonard Bernstein

Why do so many of us try to explain the beauty of music, thus depriving it of its mystery?
– Leonard Bernstein

Any great art work … revives and readapts time and space, and the measure of its success is the extent to which it makes you an inhabitant of that world – the extent to which it invites you in and lets you breathe its strange, special air.
– Leonard Bernstein

If I don’t become Brahms or Tchaikovsky or Stravinsky when I’m conducting their works, then it won’t be a great performance.
– Leonard Bernstein

Einstein said that “the most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious.” So why do so many of us try to explain the beauty of music, thus depriving it of its mystery?
– Leonard Bernstein

In the olden days, everybody sang. You were expected to sing as well as talk. It was a mark of the cultured man to sing.
– Leonard Bernstein

Mozart’s music is constantly escaping from its frame, because it cannot be contained in it.
– Leonard Bernstein

A work of art does not answer questions, it provokes them; and its essential meaning is in the tension between the contradictory answers.
– Leonard Bernstein

Music can name the unnameable and communicate the unknowable.
– Leonard Bernstein

I believe that man’s noblest endowment is his capacity to change.
– Leonard Bernstein

The 20th century has been a badly written drama, from the beginning.
– Leonard Bernstein

Success is all very well as long as you don’t inhale.
– Leonard Bernstein

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

If you’re a good composer, you steal good steals.
– Leonard Bernstein

I can’t live one day without hearing music, playing it, studying it, or thinking about it.
– Leonard Bernstein

To be a success as a Broadway composer, you must be Jewish or gay. I’m both.
– Leonard Bernstein

Any asshole can write a tone-row. It takes a composer to write a tune.
– Leonard Bernstein

This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.
– Leonard Bernstein

A liberal is a man or a woman or a child who looks forward to a better day, a more tranquil night, and a bright, infinite future.
– Leonard Bernstein