Elliott Carter

Elliott-Carter1

From his teenage years, Elliott Carter (1908 – 2012) fell in love with modern music through hearing Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring at its first New York performance. He was also befriended by the great American composer Charles Ives, whose experiments with multiple orchestras were challenging the ears of music listeners of the time.

Carter studied with Nadia Boulanger in Paris, returning to the United States in the late 1930s to write works steeped in the neo-classical mold with flavors of the burgeoning American identity. By the mid-1940s he abandoned these efforts to find his own voice through investigating new, freer methods of form. He also carried forward the harmonic experiments which developed in the early twentieth century. His fascination with the possibilities of musical form and freedom continued and produced a remarkable body of work through the entire second half of the century. In the 1990s, a new playfulness of spirit imbued his works. His output accelerated until his death at the age of 103.

2 comments
jujubee614
jujubee614

I had the privilege of attending the ceremony where Elliott Carter was awarded the Legion of Honor medal but the French Government, shortly before he passed away. He is pictured here with the French Ambassador to the US, who gave him the award. During the ceremony Mr. Carter gave a long speech full of reminiscence about his love affair with France, including some stories of what it was like to be there as a boy, before the Second World War. He was so sharp, right up until the end of his remarkable life.

grecchinois
grecchinois

I found this film incredibly inspiring when I first saw the full-length version back in 2010!  It has impacted my musical life ever since, and driven home the importance of premiering new works and keeping this already rich art form vital.  


Check out my guest blog post at the Music Makes a City blog about working with Elliott Carter on the premiere of his orchestral song cycle, "A Sunbeam's Architecture" at his 103rd Birthday Concert at New York City's 92nd Y a few years back: 


http://www.musicmakesacity.com/2014/01/guest-post/