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I write bars, for the musicians, because they have to be together.
– Gyorgy Ligeti
My grandfather was not a musician but he was an artist – a painter, a decorative painter.
I was fifteen years old, and I hardly knew how to play a simple Bach prelude on the piano when I began to compose music, and at the most advanced level. I had never studied such things as harmony.
New York is the dream world, the center of jazz and rock.
I know already the music I will write. But the words? I have not yet decided.
In my piano concerto I developed this polyphony to much higher complexity.
But if you go from Moscow to Budapest you think you are in Paris.
Then, after the war it was impossible to travel, after so many years of Hitler and Stalin.
In January 1944 I was called up by the Forced Labor Service, but I deserted on October 10, 1944.
I lived under the Nazis and under the Communists.
However, I began composing as soon as I started taking piano lessons.
I think it was when I was nineteen, by that time the Jewish laws were already in force and the split was beginning to come about which isolated the Jewish culture.
But I do not want to use Hungarian verses for British people.
Stravinsky used Mother Goose. He was influenced by Mother Goose, indirectly, but very beautifully.
I don’t read such boring things. Life is too short.
I like to stay home and listen to recordings.
I listen to all kinds of music – new music, old music, music of my colleagues, everything.
I only want to give a metaphysic for my music.
For the past ten years I have had no financial problems.
If you come from Paris to Budapest you think you are in Moscow.
When I was younger I was completely without money – when I was studying in Budapest, when I was a refugee.
I continued to study Math and Physics on my own, but one and a half years later I realized that I did want to be a composer, and after that I never changed my mind.
Well I live in Vienna with my wife and son, and I teach in Hamburg, there will be no changes in that respect.
It isn’t false modesty when I say this, but although I am supposed to be a famous person it doesn’t mean anything to me. I just sit at home and work.
I think a composer is always interested in his last work.
Yes, fractals are what I want to find in my music.