Elliott Carter

Biography

Born: December 11, 1908; USA   Died: November 5, 2012; New York, NY  
One of the most significant post-World War II American composers, Elliott Carter was a forceful and eloquent voice into his tenth decade. From an early, quasi-neo-Classical style, Carter forged his own complex, dramatically oriented adaptation of serial methods.

His initial education was at the Horace Mann School and at Harvard, where he obtained a B.A. in English, in 1930; two years later, he got his M.A. in Music, after studies
Read more with Walter Piston and Gustav Holst. He also received early encouragement from Charles Ives. From Harvard, he went to Paris, studying at the Ecole Normale de Musique and taking private lessons with Nadia Boulanger. Carter had an interest in modern music almost from the beginning (in fact, he once said that he took his degrees at Harvard so he could be near the Boston Symphony Orchestra, which under Serge Koussevitzky's direction was performing a broad range of contemporary compositions at the time). But he also sang in a madrigal group and conducted choral concerts in Paris, and has pursued interests in mathematics, literature, and languages.

After his return to the U.S., he served as the musical director of the Ballet Caravan from 1937 to 1939. From 1940 on, Carter has held an impressive variety of teaching posts at, among others, St. John's College, Annapolis (1940-1942); the Peabody Conservatory (1946-1948); Columbia University (1948-1950); Queen's College, New York (1955-1956); Yale University (1960-1962); the American Academy in Rome (1963 and 1967); and the Juilliard School (1972). Carter has also been the recipient of many honors and awards, including honorary doctorates from almost a dozen universities, many foundation grants, a Prix de Rome, two Guggenheim fellowships, and Pulitzer Prizes for his second (1960) and third (1973) string quartets.

His ballet Pocahontas, written for the Ballet Caravan, and the Holiday Overture (1944) are representative of Carter's early style, a fusion of Igor Stravinsky's neo-Classicism and the American populism of Aaron Copland. In the mid-'40s, however, Carter decided that the style he had employed to that point avoided some important modes of expression. Subsequent works, such as the 1946 Piano Sonata and the 1948 Cello Sonata, employ more dissonance and rhythmic complexity. Carter developed his notion of "metrical modulation," in which one tempo leads gradually to another through changing the note values in different voices of the ensemble. One starts to hear this process in the String Quartet No. 1 (1951), and colorful works like the Variations for Orchestra (1954-1955), the Double Concerto (1961) and the Quartet No. 2 develop those ideas further. Carter also occasionally develops dramatic scenarios for his compositions. The Quartet No. 3, for example, pits two duos (violin/viola and violin/cello) against one another as they play in different tempos and rhythms; Claus Adam of the Juilliard Quartet, which premiered the work, called it the most difficult work the quartet had ever played.

Carter went on to write a total of five quartets, along with a variety of symphonic works, concertos, chamber and solo pieces and, in the late '70s and early '80s, a handful of vocal works. He continued to be productive late in his life: Carter's Symphonia: sum fluxae pretium spei (1993-1996), which he completed at the age of 88, was received with great enthusiasm. Carter astounded the music world by creating his first opera, What Next? (1998), at the age of 90.
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Carter: The Five String Quartets / Juilliard String Quartet
Release Date: 03/18/2014   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 303383   Number of Discs: 2
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Ives: Symphony No 2; Carter: Instances; Gershwin: An American In Paris / Morlot
Release Date: 04/29/2014   Label: Seattle Symphony Orchestra  
Catalog: 1003   Number of Discs: 1
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Browse 101-125 of 180 Available Recordings
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  • 101.
    Carter: Quintets And Voices / Oppens, Arditti Sq, Et Al
    Label: Mode   Catalog: 128 Release Date: 12/09/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Elliott Carter
    Performer:  Ursula Oppens,  Lucy Shelton,  Marianne Gythfeldt,  Mark Menzies  ... 
    Conductor:  Stefan Asbury,  Jeffrey Milarsky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Sospeso,  Arditti String Quartet
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  • 102.
    Elliott Carter - Quintets & Voices
    Label: Mode   Catalog: 128 Release Date: 12/09/2003  
    Composer:  Elliott Carter
    Performer:  Charles Neidich,  William Purvis,  Stephen Taylor,  Ursula Oppens  ... 
    Conductor:  Stefan Asbury
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Sospeso,  Arditti String Quartet
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  • 103.
    Carter: What Next / Peter Eotvos, Et Al
    Label: Ecm   Catalog: 472188 Release Date: 11/25/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Elliott Carter
    Performer:  Dean Elzinga,  William Joyner,  Hilary Summers,  Sarah Leonard  ... 
    Conductor:  Peter Eötvös
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra
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  • 104.
    Anglosax: British & American Music For Saxophone
    Label: Clarinet Classics   Catalog: 10046 Release Date: 11/01/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Rodney Rogers,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Michael Berkeley,  Evan K. Chambers  ... 
    Performer:  Kyle Horch,  Pamela Lidiard,  Fenella Barton
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  • 105.
    Carter: Double Concerto;  Musgrave, Et Al / Laimon, Sequitur
    Label: Albany Records   Catalog: 607 Release Date: 09/30/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Elliott Carter,  Thea Musgrave,  David Rakowski,  Harold Meltzer
    Performer:  Sara Laimon,  Steven Beck,  Daniel Panner,  Daniel Grabois
    Conductor:  Paul Hostetter
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sequitur
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  • 106.
    Flute Works From A To Z Vol 2 / Sharon Bezaly
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 1259 Release Date: 06/24/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Daniel Börtz,  Leonhard von Call,  Gloria Coates,  Yehezkel Braun  ... 
    Performer:  Sharon Bezaly
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  • 107.
    Lauds & Lamentations - Music Of Carter & Yun
    Label: Ecm   Catalog: 472787 Release Date: 06/24/2003   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Elliott Carter,  Isang Yun
    Performer:  Thomas Demenga,  Heinz Holliger,  Thomas Zehetmair,  Ruth Killius
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  • 108.
    The Music Of Elliott Carter Vol 5 - Nine Compositions
    Label: Bridge   Catalog: 9128 Release Date: 06/24/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Elliott Carter
    Performer:  Charles Neidich,  Ayako Oshima,  Charles Rosen,  Fred Sherry  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Speculum Musicae
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  • 109.
    Variations - Copland, Carter, Ives, Dallapiccola
    Label: First Edition   Catalog: 1 Release Date: 05/13/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Luigi Dallapiccola,  Charles Ives,  Elliott Carter,  Aaron Copland
    Conductor:  Robert Whitney
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Louisville Orchestra
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  • 110.
    Label: Skarbo   Catalog: 4966 Release Date: 11/26/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Edgard Varčse,  Elliott Carter,  Samuel Barber,  Aaron Copland  ... 
    Performer:  Kathleen Chastain,  Noel Lee
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  • 111.
    Carter / Lorraine Vaillancourt, Nouvel Ensemble Moderne
    Label: Atma Classique   Catalog: 22280 Release Date: 07/09/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Elliott Carter
    Performer:  Simon Aldrich,  Alain Giguere,  Jacques Drouin
    Conductor:  Lorraine Vaillancourt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nouvel Ensemble Moderne
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  • 112.
    American Masterworks For Woodwind Quartet
    Label: Aca Digital   Catalog: 20072 Release Date: 01/29/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  William Davis,  Elliott Carter,  Alvin Etler,  Arthur Harris  ... 
    Performer:  Theodore Jahn,  Dwight Manning,  Ronald Waln,  William Davis
    Conductor:  Mark Cedel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  University of Georgia Symphony Orchestra,  University of Georgia Woodwind Quartet
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  • 113.
    Alexander Goehr: Quintet
    Label: Cambria   Catalog: 8804 Release Date: 01/01/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alexander Goehr,  Elliott Carter
    Performer:  Gayle Blankenburg,  Jan Karlin,  Gary Ginstling,  Agnes Gottschewski  ... 
    Conductor:  Stephen Mosko
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  • 114.
    The Music Of Elliott Carter Vol 4 / Speculum Musicae, Et Al
    Label: Bridge   Catalog: 9111 Release Date: 11/27/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Elliott Carter
    Performer:  Daniel Druckman,  Stephen Taylor,  Susan Narucki,  Chris Finckel  ... 
    Conductor:  William Purvis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Speculum Musicae members
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  • 115.
    American Piano Sonatas / Peter Lawson
    Label: Virgin Classics   Catalog: 61928 Release Date: 10/09/2001   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Aaron Copland,  Charles Ives,  Roger Sessions,  Samuel Barber  ... 
    Performer:  Peter Lawson
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  • 116.
    USA - Music Of Nancarrow, Carter, Et Al / Arditti Quartet
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 82139 Release Date: 08/14/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  La Monte Young,  Alvin Lucier,  Morton Feldman,  Jay Alan Yim  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arditti String Quartet
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  • 117.
    Carter: Oboe Concerto, Esprit Rude - Esprit Doux, A Mirror On Which To Dwell
    Label: Apex   Catalog: 3892272 Release Date: 06/25/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Elliott Carter
    Performer:  Heinz Holliger,  André Trouttet,  Sophie Cherrier,  Elizabeth Bishop
    Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble InterContemporain
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  • 118.
    American Masters - Carter: Holiday Overture, Syringa, Etc
    Label: Composers Recordings, Inc. (Cri)   Catalog: 610 Release Date: 04/24/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Elliott Carter
    Performer:  Jan DeGaetani,  Thomas Paul
    Conductor:  Harvey Sollberger,  Paul Dunkel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Group for Contemporary Music,  Speculum Musicae,  American Composers Orchestra
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  • 119.
    Classic American Brass / American Brass Quintet
    Label: Summit Records   Catalog: 275 Release Date: 12/26/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ingolf Dahl,  Elliott Carter,  Robert Sanders,  Charles Whittenberg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  American Brass Quintet
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  • 120.
    Carter, Rachmaninoff, Schnittke / Hopkins, Madzar
    Label: Intim Musik   Catalog: 62 Release Date: 12/19/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alfred Schnittke,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Elliott Carter
    Performer:  Alexander Madzar,  Louise Hopkins
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  • 121.
    Elogio Per Un'ombra / Michelle Makarski, Thomas Larcher
    Label: Ecm   Catalog: 465337 Release Date: 11/14/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Rochberg,  Giuseppe Tartini,  Goffredo Petrassi,  Anonymous  ... 
    Performer:  Michelle Makarski,  Thomas Larcher
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  • 122.
    Southwest Chamber Music Composer Portrait Series
    Label: Cambria   Catalog: 8800 Release Date: 10/24/2000   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Richard Derby,  Morton Subotnick,  Frederick Lesemann,  Robert Linn  ... 
    Performer:  Jeff von der Schmidt,  Maggie Edmondson,  Jan Karlin,  Christine Frank  ... 
    Conductor:  Jeff von der Schmidt,  Stephen L. Mosko,  John Bergamo
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Southwest Chamber Music Society,  CalArts Gamelan Ensemble
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  • 123.
    Teresa Sterne - A Portrait
    Label: Nonesuch   Catalog: 79619 Release Date: 10/24/2000   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Crumb,  Traditional,  Charles Ives,  Elliott Carter  ... 
    Performer:  Michael Dash,  Jan DeGaetani,  Nadezhda Georgieva Klicherova,  Nadezhda Georgieva Palestova  ... 
    Conductor:  Arthur Weisberg,  Leslie Jones,  Raymond DesRoches,  Efrem Kurtz  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Contemporary Chamber Ensemble,  Little Orchestra of London,  New Jersey Percussion Ensemble  ... 
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  • 124.
    Introducing Easley Blackwood - Composer, Pianist
    Label: Cedille Records   Catalog: 5002 Release Date: 09/19/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Easley Blackwood,  Carl Nielsen,  Charles Ives,  Elliott Carter
    Performer:  Easley Blackwood,  Kim Scholes,  John Bruce Yeh,  Barbara Haffner
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  • 125.
    Daniel Barenboim - Hannibal, Berio, Carter, Takemitsu, Et Al
    Label: Teldec   Catalog: 381792 Release Date: 09/12/2000   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  John Corigliano,  Toru Takemitsu,  Elliott Carter,  Luciano Berio  ... 
    Performer:  John Sharp,  Stephen Hough,  Theodore Jones,  Jevetta Steele  ... 
    Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Hannibal Lokumbe Quartet,  Morgan State University Choir  ... 
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