Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

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Justice Antonin Scalia

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is the most talked about Justice on the Supreme Court and one of the most influential – known for his unflinching conservatism and hard-hitting opinions. He is also a passionate music-lover and in this wide-ranging and candid interview with host Gilbert Kaplan, he reveals the enduring power of music in his life.

  • Though he became “really quite good” at the piano, he reveals why he has not touched the piano in 15 years. Likewise, after singing in a chorus up through his time on the Court of Appeals, he gave that up when he joined the Supreme Court.
  • He recounts his experience as an extra at the Washington Opera when a “perky little participant” suddenly jumped upon his lap -- not his “most notable theatrical performance”, he concludes.
  • Why Bach is his music of choice when writing opinions.
  • Why hearing modern hard rock with its “noise and ugliness” might constitute cruel and unusual punishment as envisioned in the Constitution
  • Favorite singers: Renee Fleming, Placido Domingo, Cecilia Bartoli; pianists: Glenn Gould; conductors: Georg Solti, Wilhelm Furtwängler.
  • Two musical fantasies: “To be a good tenor” and to play the violin: “I have always thought I could have been a superb violinist”.

His musical selections:
Strauss: Rosenkavalier
Kreisler: Liebeslied
Handel: “Lascia la spina, cogli la rosa”
Wildcard: “Sh-Boom”
Boyce: Symphony No. 1
Brahms: Ein Deutsches Requiem