Architect Daniel Libeskind listens to a solid block of uninterrupted music in the morning to start his day. “It’s not something of a luxury, it’s almost a necessity. And it’s not background,” says Libeskind. “I don’t do it as the hustle bustle of domestic life and in the background there’s music, I sit down, when I have time, and mostly I do have time early in the morning, just to listen to a piece of music.” In his downtown New York studio, Libeskind and I listened to the music that focuses him for the day, the music that “furnishes his mind”: Cab Calloway doing “St. Louis Blues, ” Glenn Gould playing the Well-Tempered Clavier, the 20th organ music of Olivier Messiaen, and the free jazz improvisations of pianist Keith Tippett.
“It’s the equivalent for the soul what running and jogging would be for the body. It’s not for the body, it’s for the soul. But the soul also needs to be fed. Otherwise it’s empty. And that music, when you fill your mind with it, your mind isn’t empty during the day. It’s furnished.”