x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Life Lessons: Martin Hoffmann

Martin Hoffman, the general manager of the Berliner Philharmoniker, gives his philosophies on life.

Music isn't a luxury but a fundamental need. Music is a form of expression, a language, and it's a great communicator: it can speak to anyone regardless of gender, nationality or culture. Through the power of music you can create another world, an imaginative and open place where hearts and minds can meet. It should be part of every person's life and I love encouraging today's youth to have an appreciation of all musical offerings, including classical.

Listen to your heart. I trained as a lawyer but side-stepped my career into the arts. What I learnt from this is that you have to be passionate about life and be passionate about what you are doing with it.

Grab opportunities. There is a Latin saying "Attempto" meaning "I do". It's written on the entrance gate of Tübingen University in Germany. In life you have to take responsibility for certain situations and make decisions. Pondering and reflection are important but sometimes you have to seize the day and take action. Strive for what you want.

Always look forward. There are many things I know now that I wish I knew when I was in my twenties, but living through the actual experience teaches you so much. In life, it is healthy to look back and contemplate on what the past has taught you but you must use that knowledge and move forward into the future.

Never stop learning. I have a thirst for knowledge and always want to try something new. We all make mistakes but this shouldn't stop you from being curious. You shouldn't take yourself too seriously or think so highly of yourself that it hinders your personal growth. But don't let opinions or judgements by those close to you influence your own convictions.

As told to Jemma Nicholls