Elliott Carter


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.