I have had a place in New York in the musicians' district on the Upper West Side since 1986.

America has been central to my life.

In superficial terms, to have an orchestral career is to be better than others, or at least to be chosen over others on that particular occasion; it is a form of survival.

If 'ecstasy' means to stand outside ourselves, then what better ambition can there be as we wait in the wings of the Royal Albert Hall: to leave self-obsession behind and take the audience on a journey across the high wire of Beethoven or the flying trapeze of Liszt.

Where prominent writers are expected to have a socially, politically responsible voice, musicians sometimes find meaning only in the voice which produces melodies with vocal chords.

Musicians keep playing when the lights go out, when people are suffering, confused, or angry.

Classical music thinks in centuries, not four-year terms.

In every generation, politicians let us down, but music can lift us above the fighting and the mistakes. It does not offer answers to specific political questions. Instead, it looks beyond them.

My place in London is very small, so a piano would take up a third of the room. I leave home in the morning when I'm there and go to my studio. I close the door, and it's soundproof. There's no phone or TV or computer, and I can work uninterruptedly. That has been a huge advantage over the years.

I wanted to be a disc jockey.

Painting is just a hobby. I really don't think of it much more than that. But writing music and writing words... my life would feel as if it had a big hole if I took those away.

Silence is the necessary soil for any thought to flourish.

To me, spirituality is the everyday stuff which we're dealing with all the time. It's not going into some ecstatic trance. It's changing a nappy, or making a meal at the end of a very tiring day.

I'm not really a professional composer; I just compose now and then when someone asks me to.

The daily glitter of skyscrapers competing with the stars is an unnecessary, unforgivable decadence.

I want music to move me, and I don't think it can do that without at least a link to tonality. It's the tug between atonal and tonal which makes music poignant.

The Internet tempts us to think that because an email or a new website can be accessed in seconds that everything works at the same instant speed. Art is more like the growth of a plant. It needs time and space.

I think the actual art of expressing yourself is a very important part of being human. And an important part of being a performer is understanding what it's like to create yourself.

To me, the heart of the ministry lies in being able to help deeply distressed people, not because of your own qualities but because you represent Christ.

I don't listen to music a lot in that I rarely sit down and put on a CD because I really want to treasure the silence that is there when I'm not practising. But when I listen to a piece, I listen to it often.

Learning great works like the Liszt Sonata or Beethoven's 'Hammerklavier' should be a struggle to a certain extent, where you need to labor intensely with your own brain and soul for the meaning of the work instead of cutting and pasting a bunch of stuff together from the Internet and - boom! - there you are with a performance ready to go.

There are artists who delight listeners with their wild and daring individuality; there are others who uncover the written score with reverence. There are few who can do both.

Food waste is an atrocity that is reducible, if not completely avoidable.

I like the extras in life. Concentrating on serious things doesn't mean you can't also enjoy the lighter ones.

I think there are very few people that I would give the title of genius to, really, but Beethoven unquestionably is one of them.

Unlike sport, music is not about winning or keeping fit or promoting your town or school; it's about celebrating, to a level approaching ecstasy, the deepest human longings.

Discovering how to spend leisure time well, especially during a time of austerity, could be as important in the effort to reduce crime as having extra police on the streets, and increasing the population of concert halls may actually help decrease the population of prisons.

I think it all comes from the same source, really, the writing of music, the writing of words, the playing of music. It's what drives anyone to be interested in the arts. I think it's a poetic gene; it's a wanting to go beyond.

Before the 20th century, to be a successful musician was merely to be one who was employed. A few, such as Liszt, Paderewski and several singers, had phenomenally lucrative careers, but they were rare - and Liszt gave all of his money away, travelling by choice in a third-class rail carriage.

Restaurants should be forced to recycle their leftovers for animal consumption - and should create fewer leftovers in the first place.

I've loved Alfred Cortot's playing from an early age, and I never tire of hearing his recordings, particularly Chopin and Schumann from the 1920s and '30s.

There must be so many people who have various artistic talents that, for whatever reason, just have no way of expressing them. Either they have no support from their family or they live in a part of the world, maybe they've never heard a piano or seen a piano.

I've always written - about music, art, things going on around the world. The danger is that it becomes too personal. I don't think people want it at that level of intimacy.

Playing the piano is incredibly personal... But when it's your own piece, it's doubly so.

There's certainly no doubt that commercialism has entered classical music to such a degree that almost no one seems to care anymore about the physical and mental health of the performer.

If you arrive at a concert ready to play your piece, that's not nearly good enough. You must have your music ready to the point where you can play it on a short rehearsal, after a long plane flight, on a strange piano, having had an unpleasant lunch, in an unfriendly atmosphere. You have to be so over-prepared that you can cope with anything.

In anything, there has to be that moment of fasting, really, in order to enjoy the feast.

I haven't studied theology in any systematic way. I don't think I'd find certain subjects - canon law, for instance - terribly interesting. But I'm always picking around and finding different things.

The things I do outside of playing the piano are done out of an inner necessity, not just because I want to try my hand at different things.

Many people who don't like Rachmaninov's style consider the 'Rhapsody' his masterpiece. It's written fantastically well for orchestra and piano. He combines a lot of effervescence with a deep, Romantic spirit.

Live in the present moment. The past and future are nonexistent. Only the present can be grasped or, better, embraced.

I was only listening to rock music, burning joss sticks in my bedroom, wanting only to be a disc jockey, and watching six hours of television a night - the worst kind of teenage alienation.

I'd never thought about living in London until about 1999.

I've twice been on the point of giving up my performing career to train for the priesthood.

I was very quick; I did nothing but play the piano apart from being at school. I was at home with my mother, saying, 'Go out and get some fresh air.' No, I wanted to play the piano all the time I could. I was completely obsessed.

One of the things that touches me most when I play for an audience is that although we may be unable to communicate in words or have diametrically opposed views on hot-button issues, while the music sounds we can be at peace, we can be friends. The vibrations that fill an auditorium have no passports, and they unite ears when hearts may be divided.

The piano is an instrument that can easily sound overly thick, and I love to think that I can work with textures - particularly the inner textures inside the melody or the bass line. There is an analogy there with painting; I love paintings where you see colour underneath the colour and, underneath that, more texture and shape.

Debussy is one of the few composers who actually created a new sound on the piano - or perhaps we should say a new smell, so perfumed are the vibrations which emanate from the instrument.

Whether such socialism is foolish naivety or heroic idealism is a matter of opinion, but what is certain is that, however many CDs are sold or tours sold out, the sound waves themselves are free.