Classical Music Sayings and Quotes

Below you will find our collection of inspirational, wise, and humorous old classical music quotes, classical music sayings, and classical music proverbs, collected over the years from a variety of sources.

Classical music is an unbroken, living tradition that goes back over 1,000 years, and every one of those years has had something unique and powerful to say to us about what it's like to be alive.     

Michael Tilson Thomas

A love of classical music is only partially a natural response to hearing the works performed, it also must come about by a decision to listen carefully, to pay close attention, a decision inevitably motivated by the cultural and social prestige of the art.     

Charles Rosen

But classical music is not entertainment, and I feel viciously strong about that. Classical music is forever. Entertainment is something that is here today, and may be gone tomorrow.     

Van Cliburn

A good deal of classical music is, today, the opium of the good citizen.      

George Steiner

Everybody loves classical music they just don't know about it yet.     

Benjamin Zander

What is classical music if not the epitome of sensuality, passion, and understated erotica that popular music, even with all of its energy and life, cannot even begin to touch?     

Lara St. John

Music has always been transnational; people pick up whatever interests them, and certainly a lot of classical music has absorbed influences from all over the world.     

Yo-Yo Ma

If classical music is the state of the art, then the arts are in a sad state.      

Frank Zappa

The realm of classical music is so vast - not only in terms of style but of era, age and the purposes for which it was composed - it is an enormous art form.     

David Finckel

Classical music is a wonderful 1200 year-old tradition that witnesses everything that it has meant and what it means right now to be human.      

Michael Tilson Thomas

Even in classical music, the cello doesn't get a lot of respect because the piano and the violin get it all.     

Luka Sulic

But those musics do not address the larger kind of architecture in time that classical music does, whatever each one of us knows that classical music must mean.     

Michael Tilson Thomas

If you're alive, you have all the experience necessary to understand classical music.     

Michael Tilson Thomas

Because in classical music cello is not regarded as a popular choice, it's always playing the long, boring notes.     

Luka Sulic

The tradition of classical music and the opera is such that it used to be the place where social intercourse could take place between all parts of society: politicians, industrialists, artists, citizens, etc. That tradition, I think, still exists, but it's much, much more diluted.     

Yo-Yo Ma

Classical music's ability to translate emotional themes is fantastic.     

Alan Price

Classical music, fortunately or not, unfolds in time. It's not like a picture you can stare at for 10 seconds or 10 hours. You need the minimum amount of education and training, and society needs to find a way to study music - not only the performances, but how to compose, how to understand why Mozart was great at what he did.     

Carlo Grante

Classical music is a special taste like Greek language or pre-Columbian archeology, not a common culture of reciprocal communication and psychological shorthand.     

Allan Bloom

The basic difference between classical music and jazz is that in the former the music is always graver than its performance - whereas the way jazz is performed is always more important than what is being played.     

Andre Previn

Classical music requires an immense amount of concentration, and I don't know if I would've been that committed to that particular life.     


Classical music gradually lost popularity because it is too complicated: you need twenty-five or thirty skilled musicians just to hum it properly. So people began to develop regular music.     

Dave Barry

Life, like classical music, is full of difficult passages that are conquered as much through endurance and determination as through any particular skill.     

Sheri L. Dew

And what classical music does best and must always do more, is to show this kind of transformation of moods, to show a very wide psychological voyage. And I think that's something that we as classical musicians have underestimated.     

Michael Tilson Thomas

Listening to classical music is a journey not a state; it's an activity not a meditation.     

Armando Iannucci

It's not that people don't like classical music. It's that they don't have the chance to understand and to experience it.     

Gustavo Dudamel

You cannot go wrong by learning classical music because it trains the ear.     


Classical music is one of the best things that ever happened to mankind. If you get introduced to it in the right way, it becomes your friend for life.     

Yo-Yo Ma

The peculiar characteristic of classical music is that it is really better than it sounds.     

Edgar Wilson Nye

I feel that classical music should be a more recognizable part of everyone's entertainment. It has been my hope that through live concerts, motion pictures, recordings, international competitions, and interesting public forums, a larger group of people will learn to love classical music and attend live concert performances.     

Jose Iturbi

Classical music is the kind we keep thinking will turn into a tune.     

Kin Hubbard