When you get to be 103, modernism is a very wide concept.

Music is very abstract. When we talk about music, we're not discussing the music itself but rather how we react to it.

Every concert I've finished with the knowledge I've played a fistful of wrong notes.

There is no way Israel will deal with the Palestinians if the Palestinians do not understand the suffering of the Jewish people.

I don't think I'm anti-Israeli.

I have loved Elliott Carter's music for many years.

When we talk about music, we talk about our reaction to it. One person might say that music is so poetic, while another says it's all mathematics. Yet another might say it's about sensuality, and so on. That's all true. But music is not just one of these things. It's everything all at once.

When you love somebody and they die young and you are young, too, it is very hard.

When playing music, it is possible to achieve a unique sense of peace.

We need a certain amount of energy to produce the sound. But then to sustain it, we have to give more energy, or otherwise, it goes and it dies in silence. And therefore, sound is absolutely, inextricably connected to time, the length of time.

In Arab culture, music is for celebration. You don't play music at funerals.

Tradition demands that we not speak poorly of the dead.

On Nov. 5, 2012, my friend Elliott Carter died in New York at the age of 103. For me, he was and remains one of the most interesting figures of music history in the past century.

Anti-Semitism has no historical, political and certainly no philosophical origins. Anti-Semitism is a disease.

There are many types of silence. There is a silence before the note, there is a silence at the end and there is a silence in the middle.

Music is an art that touches the depth of human existence; an art of sounds that crosses all borders.

In order to lift a certain object from the ground, we have to use energy. But then to sustain it at that level, we have to keep on adding energy, or otherwise, the object falls to the ground. It's exactly the same thing with the sound.

Of course there is really vile anti-Semitism in Wagner's writings, but I can't accept the idea that characters like Beckmesser and Alberich are Jewish stereotypes in disguise. Would Beckmesser be a court councillor if he was meant to be a Jewish stereotype? No Jew could occupy such a role.

Jewish intellectuals contributed a great deal to insure that Europe became a continent of humanism, and it is with these humanist ideals that Europe must now intervene in the Middle East conflict.

I feel that the Jews have always had a special connection to this part of the world, which in geographical terms was called Palestine for so many centuries.

Any conductor who tells you that if he is approached for the directorship of the Chicago Symphony that he's not interested in it, you know perfectly well he's lying.

I don't believe in changing the unchangeable.

You don't go out and play Beethoven's 'Opus 111' without having rethought about it every time you play.

Beethoven was a deeply political man in the broadest sense of the word. He was not interested in daily politics, but concerned with questions of moral behaviour and the larger questions of right and wrong affecting the entire society.

For me personally, Elliott Carter was and remains one of the most meaningful composers of the late 20th and early 21st centuries because he represents substance. He was the living proof of uncompromising, complex music, which at first seems inaccessible. But it becomes accessible if one digs in and sees the development through.

The problem with listening to music today is that there's so much of it everywhere. We've got used to hearing music without actually listening to it.

I am permanently relaxed.

There are wonderful restaurants in London. I love Indian food and I like Arab food, and I go very often to the Arab restaurant Noura.

I think that our civilisation is very much a visual civilisation - television and videos and all this.

The thing about Wagner is we're always wrong about him, because he always embraces opposites. There are things in his operas which viewed one way are naturalistic, and viewed another way are symbolic, but the problem is you can't represent both views on stage at once.

I believe education is much more important than we assume.

Israel is in the grip of a ghetto mentality. We have a powerful army. We have the atomic bomb. But the psychology of what comes out of Israel has the tone of the Warsaw Ghetto.

In my mother's belly, I remember not liking the tempi my father played the Beethoven Sonatas in.

You can't expect someone born into a family with no music... to understand when I'm conducting the Schoenberg Variations.

I know so many Irish musicians. They're all over, because there has been so much emigration from Ireland. Like the Jews.

The historical importance of a composer does not always go hand in hand with the quality of their work.

There are many wonderful orchestras in the world, but very few who have a character or personality of their own. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra is one of them, and I think it very important to recognize and respect that character.

I would like to be a terrorist for music education - to make a complete reform, all over the world.

It's funny, because in 1970 I met the Beatles quite by a chance at a party. It was the Beethoven bicentenary, and I was then also playing the Beethoven Sonatas. And that's all they wanted to hear about - I wanted to talk about them, and all they wanted to talk about was Beethoven.

We need to take music out of the ivory tower - both for musicians and for the public. Otherwise, classical music will not survive the 21st century.

Wagner is contrapuntal in a philosophical way as well as a musical way. What I mean by that is that every tendency has its opposite, and you see that in the man himself. He's a metaphysical hermaphrodite - he embraces hard and soft, masculine and feminine.

Once you start playing a piece, there is a connection between every note. You cannot say, 'I will not concentrate on this note.' You cannot ignore things the way you do in the rest of your life.

I have accumulated so many experiences, so much, that I want to be able to realize so many things. This is why I have basically given up most of my positions.

Children in schools need to have something to do with music and learn it the way they do literature, geography and biology.

For many people, music is here to let them forget the daily chores of life.

I'm one of the ones who believed the Iraq War was a complete mistake from the very beginning.

I love conducting. What I'm tired of is music administration. I don't want that. I just want to make music.

I think the most important thing for a listener is to realize that he, too, should not listen to music in a passive way; that if you sit in a concert hall and expect to be moved or taken off your seat by the music, it will not happen.

An hour of violin lessons in Berlin is an hour where you get the child interested in music. An hour in a violin lesson in Palestine is an hour away from violence, is an hour away from fundamentalism.