In Memoriam: Elliott Carter

NY Times: Elliott Carter, Composer Who Decisively Snapped Tradition, Dies at 103

Twice winner of the Pulitzer Prize, first composer to receive the United States National Medal of Arts, one of the few composers ever awarded Germany’s Ernst Von Siemens Music Prize, and in 1988 made “Commandeur dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” by the Government of France, Elliott Carter is internationally recognized as one of the leading American voices of the classical music tradition. He recently received the Prince Pierre Foundation Music Award and is one of only a handful of living composers elected to the Classical Music Hall of Fame. Carter was recognized by the Pulitzer Prize Committee for the first time in 1960 for his groundbreaking String Quartet No. 2. Igor Stravinsky hailed Carter’s Double Concerto for harpsichord, piano, and two chamber orchestras (1961) and Piano Concerto (1967), as “masterpieces.”

Of his creative output exceeding 130 works, Carter composed more than 40 pieces in the past decade alone. This astonishing late-career creative burst has resulted in a number of brief solo and chamber works, as well as major essays such as Asko Concerto (2000) for Holland’s ASKO Ensemble. Some chamber works include What Are Years (2009), Nine by Five (2009), and Two Thoughts About the Piano (2005–06), now widely toured by Pierre-Laurent Aimard. Carter continues to show his mastery in larger forms as well, with major contributions such as What Next? (1997–98), Boston Concerto (2002), Three Illusions for Orchestra (2004), called by the Boston Globe “surprising, inevitable, and vividly orchestrated,” Flute Concerto (2008), a piano concerto, Interventions (2007), which premiered on Carter’s 100th birthday concert at Carnegie Hall with James Levine, Daniel Barenboim, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra (December 11, 2008), and the song cycle A Sunbeam’s Architecture (2010).  (Reprinted by kind permission of Boosey & Hawkes.)

LISTEN: String Quartet No. 3
Juilliard String Quartet

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