Colin Davis Quotes

All the conductor has to do is stand back and try not to get in the way. Mozart is doing all the work.

Conducting has more to do with singing and breathing than with piano-playing.

Conductors are paid to think, and that’s what the job should be about: sitting at home thinking, what is this piece? How can I set it up to sound its best and live on, because there’s nothing to replace it with just yet? This is what absorbs the mind. Especially in old age.

Everyone wants immediate success, immediate celebrity, and that doesn’t produce what used to be artists.

Hierarchical thinking is a catastrophe.

I don’t like authority – my own or anyone else’s.

I dream of the day when someone will make music a compulsory activity, and then there won’t be time to rob old women and murder people in the street.

I suppose people could say that I’m just a leftover romantic, but I feel more free to do with the composer what I want instead of following the metronome markings exactly.

I’m dead after a performance of Nozze di Figaro. It’s exhausting. You must pay attention because if you don’t you’re going to miss something.

If people are musical and want to play, they will share this thing with you. I don’t know why or how it happens.

If you listen to the music, it will tell you what it’s trying to do. If you try and interfere with it in some way, if you come with some theory about how it goes, then you’re in for trouble. You just have to allow the music to flow.

Income tax, prime ministers, and so on, certainly exist, but so does the Missa Solemnis when you are playing it. It has just as much sense of existence as anything else.

Making music is an ethical activity: it requires you to to work with other people for an idealistic result.

Maybe the absence of ego is one of the great joys that is available to us: the chance that music gives you to climb out of the prison cell of your ego and be free for an hour and a half.

Mozart is expressing something that is more than human.

Musicians are awful people, but they’re not terrorists.

Tchaikowsky is a whiz.

The less ego you have, the more influence you have as a conductor. And the result is that you can concentrate on the only things that really matter: the music and the people who are playing it. You are of no account whatever.

The road to success and the road to failure are almost exactly the same.

To lose your temper is only useful once a year.