John Zorn quote

"I don't ascribe to the idea of the ivory tower composer who sits alone in a room composing his masterpieces and then comes down from Mount Sinai with the tablets. It doesn't work like that. The job of a composer is putting something down on a piece of paper that will inspire the person who's playing."

John Zorn

Born: September 2, 1953

Occupation: Composer

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John Zorn

It's a matter of keeping people on a spontaneous edge.

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Well, in Japan, I have got a group of musicians that I have worked with a lot, that concentrate just on the hardcore stuff, say, that Naked City has been working on. We have like a repertoire of sixty...

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John Zorn

When I'm writing, sometimes it gets to that place where I feel like the piece is writing itself and I'm trying not to get in the way

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John Zorn

The idealists will always be in society, and we will survive

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John Zorn

You can't be idealistic in this world and not be crazy

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John Zorn

I have wit in my work and a sense of humor, but I do not use irony in any way

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John Zorn

Great musicians accept everything that they hear and find something good. They take what they like and they throw away what they don't like

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John Zorn

That is a lot of the reason I do what I do, to really spread the word and spread information and turn people onto different things they may not be, y'know, aware of. That is what Naked City is certainly...

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John Zorn

If you can make art with sound, can't you make music with objects?

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John Zorn

I’m constantly in doubt about what I’m doing, I’m constantly tortured, and that’s why I say happiness is irrelevant. Happiness is for children and yuppies. I’m not striving for happiness, I’m...

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John Zorn

I see myself and many artists like me as the torchbearers through these dark ages.

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John Zorn

As soon as you get a certain amount of attention, then everybody kinda wants to start taking pot shots at you. All your old friends that supported you don't support you any more.

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John Zorn

I don't play favorites with people. My basic philosophy is that the only way to make the world a better place is by bringing something beautiful to every single person you run into at every moment of the...

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John Zorn

And I try to be as diplomatic as I can, but it always ends up being a psychodrama up there on stage.

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John Zorn

I have not practiced saxophone since 1980. I mean, not one note. I do not pick it up in my house, and that's the end of it.

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John Zorn

I'm constantly tortured, and that's why I say happiness is irrelevant. Happiness is for children and yuppies.

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John Zorn

One thing that I do ask myself when I'm in the creative process is, 'Does the world need this?'

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John Zorn

People sometimes have a very hard time accepting change.

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John Zorn

Classical stuff takes a lot of rehearsal time and preparation, but with stuff that involves improvisation, you can over-rehearse it and it gets stale. You don't want it to be too comfortable. In fact,...

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John Zorn

I don't ascribe to the idea of the ivory tower composer who sits alone in a room composing his masterpieces and then comes down from Mount Sinai with the tablets. It doesn't work like that. The job of...

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John Zorn

I put together the influences of my life in as clear a way as I possibly can, in the same way that Beethoven or Schoenberg or Bach put their influences together.

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John Zorn

I run around, I listen to a lot of music, go to a lot of concerts. And when I see someone that gases me, I try to go out of my way to involve them somehow in what I'm doing or get involved in what they're...

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John Zorn

I used to look at composing music as problem solving. But as I get older, it's not about problem solving anymore. There are no solutions, because there are no problems. You just turn the tap and it flows...

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John Zorn

It's a blast to watch. It's a lot more interesting live than it is on record. I mean, it really is a theatrical event. It's a sporting event! Cause you never know what's gonna happen.

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John Zorn

My solo music - I get up onstage, I improvise and it's my improvisation. When I get up onstage with Fred Frith and Mike Patton, then we're improvising together. Then it's not my music; it's our music.

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John Zorn

One of the reasons I started Tzadik, which is my own label, is to keep things in print. I got tired of labels dropping things out of print when they don't sell.

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John Zorn

That was my challenge as a composer. Like with anything, to keep yourself interested in doing what you do, you set yourself challenges. So I said, Okay, I'll try to write a hundred tunes in a year.

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John Zorn

The magic that you find in surf music, I think, is really timeless. You know, when I was very young, I was in a surf band. Surf music is an instrumental music that still means a lot to me, not in an nostalgic...

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Related quote

John Zorn

I don't ascribe to the idea of the ivory tower composer who sits alone in a room composing his masterpieces and then comes down from Mount Sinai with the tablets. It doesn't work like that. The job of...

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Lukas Foss

As I sit down and start to work, I often panic. I stare at the empty piece of music paper. How can I say that my piece will be ready for performance next January when I do not have a recipe for making...

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Dmitri Shostakovich

Every piece of music is a form of personal expression for its creator...If a work doesnt express the composers own personal point of view, his own ideas, then it doesnt, in my opinion, even deserve to...

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Orhan Pamuk

A writer is someone who spends years patiently trying to discover the second being inside him, and the world that makes him who he is: when I speak of writing, what comes first to my mind is not a novel,...

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Karl Lagerfeld

A collection is not just one basic idea. It comes from something that is in the air, something you suddenly like and put down on paper and then work out.

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Alexandre Desplat

That's why I'm so passionate about making music for movies because you dive in and find the best ideas to bring tolife a collective piece of art. ... [Composing] is not a job for me. And that explains...

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Aaron Scharf

Only recently serious research into the relationship between photography and art has taken place. Why has it been so long in coming ? In some respects historical research is analogous with that of science....

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W. Eugene Smith

I am an idealist. I often feel I would like to be an artist in an ivory tower. Yet it is imperative that I speak to people, so I must desert that ivory tower. To do this, I am a journalist—a photojournalist....

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Daniel Handler

Composer” is a word which here means “a person who sits in a room, muttering and humming and figuring out what notes the orchestra is going to play.” This is called composing. But last night, the...

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Johannes Brahms

The idea comes to me from outside of me - and is like a gift. I then take the idea and make it my own - that is where the skill lies.

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Robert Orben

THe world now has so many problems that if Moses had come down from Mount Sinai today, the two tablets he'd carry would be aspirin.

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Pat Ament

Newspapers ascribe the word "climber" to any person who falls in the mountains or off a rock. To refer to anyone who falls in the mountains as... a climber... is as factual as to say that anyone who sits...

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Stephen Sondheim

The last collaborator is your audience ... when the audience comes in, it changes the temperature of what you've written. Things that seem to work well -- work in a sense of carry the story forward and...

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Yasunori Mitsuda

I think [game music] is something that should last with the player. It's interesting because it can't just be some random music, but something that can make its way into the player's heart. In that sense,...

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Pearl Cleage

Many times, what people call 'writer's block' is the confusion that happens when a writer has a great idea, but their writing skill is not up to the task of putting that idea down on paper. I think that...

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Nelson Mandela

i love playing and chatting with children...feeding and putting them to bed with a little story, and being away from the family has troubled me throughout my...life. i like relaxing at the house, reading...

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Jiddu Krishnamurti

You may remember the story of how the devil and a friend of his were walking down the street, when they saw ahead of them a man stoop down and pick up something from the ground, look at it, and put it...

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Benjamin Britten

Composing is like driving down a foggy road toward a house. Slowly you see more details of the house-the color of the slates and bricks, the shape of the windows. The notes are the bricks and the mortar...

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Marshall A. Cohen

The title which I most covet is that of teacher. The writing of a research paper and the teaching of freshman calculus, and everything in between, falls under this rubric. Happy is the person who comes...

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Mark Twain

We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it and stop there lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove lid again...

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Raymond Scott

Perhaps within the next hundred years, science will perfect a process of thought transference from composer to listener. The composer will sit alone on the concert stage and merely 'think' his idealized...

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