30+ Best Leonard Bernstein Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Leonard Bernstein was an American composer, conductor, author, music lecturer, and pianist noted for his accomplishments in both classical and popular music. He was among the first conductors born and educated in the U.S. to receive worldwide acclaim. He was one of the most prodigiously talented and successful musicians in American history. Inspirational Leonard Bernstein quotes will inspire growth in life, make you wiser and broaden your perspective.

If you’re searching for the most famous quotes from musicians that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of Ludwig van Beethoven quotes, electrifying Jimi Hendrix quotes, and legendary Johnny Cash quotes.

Most Famous Leonard Bernstein Quotes

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

You can sit there, tense and worried, freezing the creative energies, or you can start writing something. It doesn’t matter what. In five or ten minutes, the imagination will heat, the tightness will fade, and a certain spirit and rhythm will take over.

Music, because of its specific and far-reaching metaphorical powers, can name the unnamable and communicate the unknowable.

Music can name the unnameable and communicate the unknowable.

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

I believe in people. I feel, love, need and respect people above all else, including natural scenery, organized piety and nationalistic superstructures. One human figure on the slope of a mountain can make the mountain disappear for me, one person fighting for truth can disqualify for me the entire system which had dispensed it.

Music, of all the arts, stands in a special region, unlit by any star but its own, and utterly without meaning … except its own.

I think it is time we learned the lesson of our century: that the progress of the human spirit must keep pace with technological and scientific progress, or that spirit will die. It is incumbent on our educators to remember this; and music is at the top of the spiritual must list. When the study of the arts leads to the adoration of the formula (heaven forbid), we shall be lost. But as long as we insist on maintaining artistic vitality, we are able to hope in man

Life without music is unthinkable. Life without music is academic. That is why my contact with music is a total embrace.

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

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

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

Our most emotionally active life is lived in our dreams, and our cells renew themselves most industriously in sleep. We reach highest in meditation, and farthest in prayer. In stillness every human being is great; he is free from the experience of hostility; he is a poet, and most like an angel.

Inspirational Leonard Bernstein Quotes

The most difficult instrument to play in the orchestra is second fiddle.

Music . . . can name the unnameable and communicate the unknowable.

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

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

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

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.

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.

We’re neither pure, nor wise, nor good We’ll do the best we know. We’ll build our house and chop our wood And make our garden grow. And make our garden grow!

Inspiration is wonderful when it happens, but the writer must develop an approach for the rest of the time… The wait is simply too long.

The key to the mystery of a great artist is that for reasons unknown, he will give away his energies and his life just to make sure that one note follows another… and leaves us with the feeling that something is right in the world.

A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.

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

Children must receive music instruction as naturally as food, with as much pleasure as they derive from a ball game, and this must happen from the beginning of their lives.

It is the artists of the world, the feelers and the thinkers who will ultimately save us; who can articulate, educate, defy, insist, sing and shout the big dreams.

The joy of music should never be interrupted by a commercial.

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

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.