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These are personal favorites.
Never apologize for writing sacred music. You are clearly in good company - Larry Nickel

Silence is the pause in me when I am near to God.

Arvo Pärt

God, for me, is manifest, and my conception of music derives from this conviction. God being present in all things, music dealing with theological subjects can and must be extremely varied. 2) I'm a composer because I love music, and a Christian because I believe. 3) I've imposed the truths of the Faith on the concert room. 4) My faith is the grand drama of my life. I'm a believer, so I sing words of God to those who have no faith.
Olivier Messiaen

The further one separates himself from the precepts of the Christian Church, the further one distances himself from the truth. Only God can create. I make music from music.
Igor Stravinsky

Most of the forward movements of life in general … have been the work of essentially religiously-minded people. 
Charles Ives

Why should we not enter into our inheritance in the church as well as the concert hall? 
Ralph Vaughan Williams

The Spirit of God is not something less than God, - it is God. 
Edward Elgar

The end of all good music is to affect the soul. 2) The modern composer builds upon the foundation of truth. 3) Music is spiritual. The music business is not.

Claudio Monteverdi

Do not wonder that I am so religious.  An artist who is not could not produce anything like this.  2) I like praying there at the window when I look out on the green and at the sky. I study with the birds, flowers, God and myself.
Antonin Dvorak

In my study I can lay my hand on the Bible in the pitch dark. 2) All truly inspired ideas come from God. 3) The powers from which all truly great composers like Mozart, Schubert, Bach and Beethoven drew their inspirations is the same power that enabled Jesus to do his miracles.
Johannes Brahms

Someday I will have to give an account of myself.  How would the Father in Heaven judge me if I followed others and not Him? 
Anton Bruckner

My purpose in writing cantatas is not so much to comfort the believer but rather to arouse the potential convert. 
Cesar Frank

Christianity’s founder was not only wise, but divine.  To believe in Him means to emulate Him, to hope for redemption, to strive for union with Him.  2) I am convinced that there are universal currents of Divine Thought vibrating the ether everywhere and that any who can feel these vibrations is inspired.
Richard Wagner

I pray to God that He may powerfully illumine your heart through His faith and His love. You may scoff at this feeling as bitterly as you like. I cannot fail to see and desire in it the only salvation. Through Christ alone, through resigned suffering in God, salvation and rescue come to us. 2) The ardent longing for the Cross, and the elevation of the Cross have always been my true, my innermost vocation. 3) Music's purpose is "to ennoble, to comfort, to purify man, to bless and praise God."
Franz Liszt

Oh, how good God is! 
Frederic Chopin

The impressions of the spiritual experiences gave my future life its form and content.

Gustav Mahler

“To send light into the darkness of men’s hearts - such is the duty of the artist. 2) Nature best teaches how to pray, and how to reverence all the gifts the Almighty has given us. She is like a vast outspread handkerchief, embroidered with God's eternal name, on which we may dry alike our tears of sorrow and of joy; she turns weeping into ecstasy, and fills our hearts with speechless, quiet reverence and resignation.
Robert Schumann

Pray to God that He might create is us a clean heart and renew a right spirit within us. 
Felix Mendelsohn

It sometimes seems to me as if I do not belong to this world at all.  2) I deplore music that engenders in people not love but madness: which rouses them to scornful laughter instead of lifting their thoughts to God.
Franz Schubert

1) In whatsoever manner it be, let me turn to God and become fruitful in good works.  2) Nothing higher exists than to approach God more than other people and from that to extend His glory among humanity. 3) I will place all my confidence in your eternal goodness, O God! My soul shall rejoice in Thee, immutable Being. Be my rock, my light, forever my trust.
Ludwig van Beethoven

God is ever before my eyes.  I realize his omnipotence and I fear His anger; but I also recognize his compassion, and His tenderness towards His creatures. 
Wolfgang Mozart

Let us put our trust in God and console ourselves with the thought that all is well, if it is in accordance with the will of the Almighty, as He knows best what is profitable and beneficial to our temporal happiness and our eternal salvation.

Wolfgang Mozart

Since God has given me a cheerful heart, He will forgive me for serving Him cheerfully.
Franz Joseph Haydn

Never was I so devout as when I composed The Creation. I knelt down each day to pray to God to give me strength for my work....When I was working on The Creation I felt so impregnated with Divine certainty, that before sitting down to the piano, I would quietly and confidently pray to God to grant me the talent that was needed to praise Him worthily.

Franz Joseph Haydn

It pleased the Almighty, to whose great will Holy Will I submit myself with Christian submission. 
George Frederic Handel

I shudder to think of that God would do something like that through me…. (reflecting on the Messiah)

George Frederic Handel

Where there is devotional music, God is always at hand with his gracious presence. 2) Music’s only purpose should be for the glory of God and the recreation of the human spirit. 3) Music is an agreeable harmony for the honor of God and the permissible delights of the soul.
Johann Sebastian Bach

Bach frequently initialed his blank manuscript pages with the marking, 'J.J.' ('Help me, Jesus') or I.N.J. ('In the name of Jesus'). At the manuscript end, Bach routinely initialed the letters S.D.G. ('Soli Deo Gloria', 'To God alone, the glory').

Next to the Word of God – music deserves the highest praise.  She is mistress and governess of those human emotions – to pass over the animals – which govern men as masters or, more often, overwhelm them.  No greater commendation than this can be found – at least, not by us. For whether you wish to comfort the sad, to terrify the happy, to encourage the despairing, to humble the proud, to calm the passionate, or to appease those full of hate – and who could number all these masters of the human heart, namely, the emotions, inclinations, and affections that impel men to evil or good? – what more effective means than music could you find?
Martin Luther

The relation between practical and spiritual spheres in music is obvious, if only because it demands ears, finger, consciousness and intellect.

Luciano Berio

I am a religious person...restoring the legato of life. Life divides man into many pieces. There is no weightier occupation than

the recomposition of spiritual integrity through the composition of music."

Sofia Gubaidulina - Russian composer

My way towards God has been to write music. 2) I've been very lucky all my life because the writing and the faith seem to go together. 3) I always go back to what Plato said, that Heaven and Earth were once joined and there was one single primordial being, God.

John Tavener

May God be with me! May Heaven bless this New Year. May it be a year of fruitfulness, of peace and prosperity; may it be a year of peace and unity for all mankind; may the world be freed of cholera.

Giacomo Meyerbeer

Other Interesting Quotes

It is incontestable that music induces in us a sense of the infinite and the contemplation of the invisible.

Victor de La Prade

Get people to sing together and they'll act together too -

Pete Seeger

I used to be shy -You made me sing.

I used to refuse things at the table - Now I shout for more wine.


Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without.


After silence that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.

Aldous Huxley

If a composer could say what he had to say in words he would not bother trying to say it in music. When I have reached a summit, I leave it with great reluctance, unless it is to reach for another, higher one.
Gustav Mahler

The point is not to take the world's opinion as a guiding star but to go one's way in life and working unerringly, neither depressed by failure nor seduced by applause.

Gustav Mahler

Worship is the only gift we can bring to God that He Himself has not first given to us.
Isobel Ralston

"The more I study nature, the more I stand amazed at the work of the Creator. Science brings men nearer to God." 

Louis Pasteur

Every kind of music is good, except the boring kind.

Gioachino Rossini

WIthout music, life would be a mistake

Friedrich Nietzsche

Music is at one the most wonderful, the most alive of all the arts.

Susan Sontag

The musician is perhaps the most modest of animals, but he is also the proudest. It is he who invented the sublime art of ruining poetry.

Erik Satie

Atheism is so senseless. When I look at the solar system, I see the earth at the right distance from the sun to receive the proper amounts of heat and light. This did not happen by chance. The true God is a living, intelligent and powerful being.

Sir Isaac Newton

Each composer's approach is different, but each contacted a Universal Vibrating Cosmic Energy.


"At least I have the honour of being placed above the cooks."
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Vienna, 17 March 1781)

"I will gladly give lessons as a favor, particularly when I see that my student has talent, inclination, and anxiety to learn; but to be obliged to go to a house at a certain hour, or to have to wait at home for a pupil, is what I cannot do, no matter how much money it may bring me in. . . I am a composer and was born to be a Kapellmeister. I neither can nor ought to bury the talent for composition with which God in his goodness has so richly endowed me. . ."
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (from a letter to his father Mannheim, 7 February 1778)

How full of meaning and significance the language of music is we see from the repetition signs, as well as from the Da capo which would be intolerable in the case of works composed in the language of words. In music, however, they are very appropriate and beneficial; for to comprehend it fully, we must hear it twice.

Arthur Schopenhauer

"Well, I must close, for I must really compose. I spend the whole morning giving lessons, so I have only the evening for my beloved task — composition."
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (from a letter to his father Vienna, 10 February 1784)

"You must have the score in your head, not your head in the score."
Hans von Bulow

"Never look at the trombones - It only encourages them."
Richard Strauss

“It is not hard to compose, but what is fabulously hard is to leave the superfluous notes under the table."

 Johannes Brahms

“There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.” Johann Sebastian Bach

I always try to make myself as widely understood as possible, and if I don’t succeed I consider it’s my own fault.

Dmitri Shostakovich

“There are two infinities: God and stupidity.”
Edgar Varèse

Music is the social act of communication among people, a gesture of friendship, the strongest there is.

Malcolm Arnold

I can't write songs unless I am in love.If I am not in love, nothing is meaningful to me. I have no energy.

Kevin Ayers

Competitions are for horses, not artists.

Bela Bartok

"Talent does what it can, genius does what it must."
Al Gore

“Beauty seems to strike some people as a personal affront.”
Claude Debussy

You see, the powers from which all truly great composers like Mozart, Schubert, Bach and Beethoven drew their inspirations is the same power that enabled Jesus to do his miracles. I know several young composers who are atheists. I have read their scores, and I assure you, Joseph, that they are doomed to speedy oblivion, because they are utterly lacking in inspiration. Their works are purely cerebral. The great Nazarene (Jesus) knew that law also, and He proclaimed it in John 15:4, 'The branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine.' No atheist has ever been or ever will be a great composer."

Johannes Brahms

Music is the God given universal language of sound that has the ability to affect and touch the human soul unlike anything else.
anon. - monk

An artist is a person who thinks more than there is to think, feels more than there is to feel, and sees more than there is to see.
John Oliver Hobbes

“Music is the most abstract of the arts and also the most physical….music is under two signs, the stars and the wine”
Edgar Varèse

“A work of art must make the rules: rules do not make a work of art…I tell people I am not a musician; I work with rhythms, frequencies and intensities…tunes are merely the gossips of music…”
Edgar Varèse

“A man is culpable in the eyes of society when he escapes from the jurisdiction of its mediocrity.”
Edgar Varèse

“Men set themselves a goal, and having attained it, are satisfied and grow paunches. In their complacency they forget that their only future is now death.”
Edgar Varèse

“No matter how consummate a work of art may seem, it is only an approximation of the original conception. It is the artist’s consciousness of this discrepancy between his conception and the realization that assures his progress.”
Edgar Varèse

“The beginning of art is not reason. It is the buried treasure of the unconscious…that unconscious which has more understanding than our lucidity.”
Edgar Varèse

I rather like a certain clumsiness in a work of art.”
Edgar Varèse

“Of all the arts, music is the one communal art. It requires for its existence extensive cooperation and organization…Singing together the greatest choral music of all time is the surest way of developing in a community that sense of quality and reverence for beauty, which is the basis of a musical culture…Entertainment has its place in life just as candies and cocktails have, but health is not built on such a diet alone, nor culture exclusively on amusement.”
Edgar Varèse

The inexpressible depth of all music, by virtue of which it floats past us as a paradise quite familiar and yet eternally remote, and is so easy to understand and yet so inexplicable, is due to the fact that it reproduces all the emotions of our innermost being, but entirely without reality and remote from its pain.

Arthur Schopenhauer

"The difficulty began when he tried to cast his ideas in the ordinary musical forms: he made the discovery that none of the ancient molds were suited to them: if he wished to fix his visions with fidelity he had to begin by forgetting all the music he had heard, all that he had written, to make a clean slate of all the formalism he had learned, of traditional technique, to throw away those crutches of impotency, that bed, all prepared for the laziness of those who, fleeing the fatigue of thinking for themselves, lie down in other men's thoughts."
Roman Rolland

“The very basis of creative work is irreverence! The very basis of creative work is bold experimentation. There has never been a creator of lasting importance who has not also been an innovator.” 
Eric Temple Bell

“In every domain of art, a work that corresponds to the need of its day carries a message of social and cultural value. It is the artist who crystallizes his age … who fixes his time in history.”
Edgar Varèse

In one of his letters he explodes with revulsion at the sight of a cross and a chapel that were raised to commemorate a bloody battle: “These sacred symbols are intended partly to commemorate and partly to expiate a horrible crime. Oh, dear Christ, over how many deeds of shame must Thou lend Thy countenance? Of Him who in Himself is the most convincing testimony to our human wickedness, they erect an image everywhere in wood and stone, as much as to say, "See, here, we have trampled under our profane feet the most perfect creation of the great God. What shall hinder us then in annihilating easily the rest of ordinary mankind.”

Franz Peter Schubert

"The time will come when Winter will ask us: What were you doing all the Summer?"
Bohemian proverb

There are two ways to live, one is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as if everything is.
Albert Einstein

I am a composer in search of oblivion; and I‘m always slightly ashamed to admit that I compose. (Letter to Lydia Karmalina)
Alexander Borodin

One day I’ll be able to relax a bit, and try and become a good composer. (Letter to Imogen Holst, 1968)
Benjamin Britten

The first requirement for a composer is to be dead. (“Je suis compositeur," 1951)
Arthur Honegger

The modern composer builds his works on the basis of truth. (“Fifth Book of Madrigals” 1605, Preface)
Claudia Monteverdi

If you read reviews of concerts, the word 'creative' comes up all the time. However, performers playing music usually aren't creative. Critics might say they are, but they're just playing another persons work. They didn't create it.
Ned Rorem

I may not be a first-rate composer, but I am a first-class second-rate composer! (Quoted in Del Mar, Richard Strauss, 1962)
Richard Strauss

Bach almost persuades me to be a Christian.

Roger Fry (1940)

A good composer does not borrow, he steals.
Igor Stravinsky

(On his reaction to adverse criticism) - I cried all the way to the bank.

(Liberace,Autobiography - 1973)

Joy is not in things, but in us.
Richard Wagner

A composer is a guy who goes around forcing his will on unsuspecting air molecules, often with the assistance of unsuspecting musicians. (The Real Frank Zappa Book)
Frank Zappa

Great music is that which penetrates the ear with facility and leaves the memory with difficulty. Magical music never leaves the memory.

Thomas Beecham

There are two golden rules for an orchestra: start together and finish together. The public doesn't give a damn what goes on in between.

Thomas Beecham

The English may not like music, but they absolutely love the noise it makes.

Thomas Beecham

Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy.

Ludwig van Beethoven

Music is mediator between spiritual and sensual life.

Ludwig van Beethoven

A great poet is the most precious jewel of a nation.

Ludwig van Beethoven

I can tell you, dearest friend, that if it became known how much friendship, love and a world of human and spiritual references I have smuggled into these three movements, the adherents of programme music - should there be any left - would go mad with joy.

Alban Berg

Music is at once the product of feeling and knowledge, for it requires from its disciples, composers and performers alike, not only talent and enthusiasm, but also that knowledge and perception which are the result of protracted study and reflection.

Alban Berg

If something is boring after two minutes, try it for four. If still boring, then eight. Then sixteen. Then thirty-two. Eventually one discovers that it is not boring at all.

John Cage

Simplicity is the final achievement. After one has played a vast quantity of notes and more notes, it is simplicity that emerges as the crowning reward of art.

Frederic Chopin

So long as the human spirit thrives on this planet, music in some living form will accompany and sustain it and give it expressive meaning.

Aaron Copland

Extreme complication is contrary to art.

Claude Debussy

Every composer knows the anguish and despair occasioned by forgetting ideas which one had no time to write down.

Hector Berlioz

At least I have the modesty to admit that lack of modesty is one of my failings.

Hector Berlioz

Music is the arithmetic of sounds as optics is the geometry of light.

Claude Debussy

Music is the silence between the notes.

Claude Debussy

Music is an outburst of the soul.

Frederick Delius

God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say 'thank you?'

William Arthur Ward

When the solution is simple, God is answering.

Albert Einstein

Great music does not just make me feel good. It means something. It makes us understand. It makes us happy.

Lukas Foss

Since age seven, I've been composing and have never stopped composing, yet, the creative process is as elusive to me as it has ever been.

Lukas Foss

Writing music is not so much inspiration as hard work.

George Gershwin

Hell begins on the day when God grants us a clear vision of all that we might have achieved, of all the gifts which we have wasted, of all that we might have done which we did not do.

Gian Carlo Menotti

Melody is a form of remembrance. It must have a quality of inevitability in our ears.

Gian Carlo Menotti

Any creator owes a debt to past creation.

Lukas Foss

Music embodies feeling without forcing it to contend and combine with thought, as it is forced in most arts and especially in the art of words.

Franz Liszt

If I cannot fly, let me sing.

Stephen Sondheim

Music can name the unnameable and communicate the unknowable.

Leonard Bernstein

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

Leonard Bernstein

"Of time to think as a pure musician

and ponder the art of composition.

for hours on end I brooded and mused

on materiae musicae, used and abused;

On aspects of unconventionality,

Over the death in our time of tonality,

Over the fads of Dada and Chance,

The serial strictures, the dearth of romance,

"Perspective in Music" the new terminology,


Pieces called "Cycles" and "Sines" and "Parameters" --

Titles too beat for these homely tetrameters;

Pieces for nattering, clucking sopranos

With squadrons of vibraphones, fleets of pianos

played with the forearms, the fists and palms

-- And then I came up with the Chichester Psalms.

These psalms are a simple and modest affair,

Tonal and tuneful and somewhat square

Certain to sicken a stour John Cager

With its tonics and triads and E flat major.

But there it stands the result of my pondering,

Two long months of avant-garde wandering -

My youngest child, old-fashioned and sweet.

And he stands on his own two tonal feet."


Leonard Bernstein, October 1965 (New York Times)