Classical KUSC



American composer Elliott Carter dead at 103

Posted By: Gail Eichenthal · 11/5/2012 4:27:00 PM
Composer Elliott Carter
Photo by Meredith Heuer/Boosey
& Hawkes via Bloomberg

KUSC joins the musical world is mourning the death today of one of the most admired American composers of the past century:

Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Elliot Carter has died in his hometown of New York City, at the age of 103. He was still composing until shortly before his death.

In the 1930’s in Paris, Carter was part of the “Boulangerie”, the coterie of notable American composition students who worked with the exacting taskmistress Nadia Boulanger; the group also included Aaron Copland, Virgil Thompson, Roy Harris, Ingolf Dahl, Elinor Remick Warren, and the young Philip Glass.

Carter returned to the United States in 1935, turning first to ballet scores. After a neoclassical phase, he went on to write atonal, rhythmically complex music, music very difficult to perform. His compositions, which have been performed all over the world, and are particularly prized in Europe, include orchestra and chamber works, as well as solo instrumental and vocal scores. He was a longtime faculty member at Tanglewood.

Carter was remarkably productive in his later years, publishing more than 40 works between the ages of 90 and 100, and more than a dozen compositions after he turned 100.

It was on December 11, 2008 that Carter celebrated his 100th birthday at Carnegie Hall in New York, where the Boston Symphony Orchestra and pianist Daniel Barenboim played his Interventions for Piano and Orchestra written that year.

Among his other better known works are the Double Concerto for harpsichord, piano and two chamber orchestras, the Piano Concerto written as an 85th birthday present for Igor Stravinsky; the Concerto for Orchestra, and the Symphony of Three Orchestras. Carter was composing as recently as this past summer, working on a commission from the New York Philharmonic which was first performed this past June.

Today’s KUSC car tune –the Classical Anti-Roadrage Melody-- at 5pm will be Elliot Carter’s Elegy, in memory of the composer.

Here's an interview KUSC’s Arts Alive conducted with Carter just last year:

Here’s a recent interview with Bloomberg news: Sitting in his Greenwich Village living room, Elliott Carter sips iced tea and looks pretty chipper for 103.

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