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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Browse 126-150 of 184 Available Recordings
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  • 126.
    American Piano Sonatas / Peter Lawson
    Label: Erato   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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  • 127.
    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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  • 128.
    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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  • 129.
    Carter: Concerto For Orchestra, Etc / Knussen, Bohn, Et Al
    Label: Virgin Classics Special Import   Catalog: 59271 Release Date: 01/09/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Elliott Carter
    Performer:  Eric Crees,  Ole Böhn
    Conductor:  Oliver Knussen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Sinfonietta
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  • 130.
    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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  • 131.
    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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  • 132.
    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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  • 133.
    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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  • 134.
    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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  • 135.
    Scena - Mead, Lauba, Steinberg, Carter, Et Al / Mcallister
    Label: Equilibrium   Catalog: 32 Release Date: 07/25/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Elliott Carter,  Benjamin Broening,  Karlheinz Stockhausen,  Paul Steinberg  ... 
    Performer:  Timothy McAllister
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  • 136.
    Percussion Xx - Henze, Taira, Brindle, Et Al / Jonathan Faralli
    Label: Arts Music   Catalog: 47558 Release Date: 07/18/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Salvatore Sciarrino,  Karlheinz Stockhausen,  John Cage,  Elliott Carter  ... 
    Performer:  Jonathan Faralli
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  • 137.
    Elegies / Kim Kashkashian, Robert Levin
    Label: Ecm   Catalog: 827744 Release Date: 04/18/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henri Vieuxtemps,  Zoltán Kodály,  Franz Liszt,  Alexander Glazunov  ... 
    Performer:  Robert Levin,  Kim Kashkashian
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  • 138.
    American Clarinet Treasures / American Chamber Ensemble
    Label: Elysium   Catalog: 718 Release Date: 03/15/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Douglas Moore,  Gary Schocker,  Virgil Thomson,  Elliott Carter  ... 
    Performer:  Naomi Drucker,  Erika Sato,  Lois Martin,  Deborah Wong  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  American Chamber Ensemble
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  • 139.
    Diary Of A Seducer - Martin, Wuorinen, Babbitt, Carter
    Label: Composers Recordings, Inc. (Cri)   Catalog: 838 Release Date: 02/22/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Elliott Carter,  Milton Babbitt,  Charles Wuorinen,  Robert Martin
    Performer:  Joan Forsyth,  Mark Delpriora,  William Anderson,  Oren Fader
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  • 140.
    Carter: Symphonia, Clarinet Concerto / Collins, Knussen, London Sinfonietta
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 459660 Release Date: 01/11/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Elliott Carter
    Performer:  Michael Collins
    Conductor:  Oliver Knussen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Sinfonietta,  BBC Symphony Orchestra
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  • 141.
    Carter: Early Chamber Music / Chicago Pro Musica
    Label: Cedille Records   Catalog: 48 Release Date: 11/19/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Elliott Carter
    Performer:  Barbara Haffner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Pro Musica
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  • 142.
    Merit - Carter, Wuorinen, Schuller / Bryn-julson, Markham
    Label: Music & Arts Programs Of America   Catalog: 4900 Release Date: 10/19/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Elliott Carter,  Gunther Schuller,  Charles Wuorinen
    Performer:  Phyllis Bryn-Julson,  Mark Markham
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  • 143.
    Percussion Xx - Henze, Taira, Cage, Et Al / Jonathan Faralli
    Label: Arts Music   Catalog: 47558 Release Date: 08/17/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Reginald Smith-Brindle,  Eric Tanguy,  Salvatore Sciarrino,  Karlheinz Stockhausen  ... 
    Performer:  Jonathan Faralli
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  • 144.
    From The Steeples And The Mountains / London Gabrieli Brass
    Label: Helios   Catalog: 55018 Release Date: 08/10/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Roy Harris,  Charles Ives,  Elliott Carter,  Carl Ruggles  ... 
    Performer:  Christopher Bowers-Broadbent,  Richard Clews,  Christopher Larkin,  David Lee
    Conductor:  Christopher Larkin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Gabrieli Brass Ensemble
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  • 145.
    American Clarinet / Damien, Trouttet, Intercontemperain
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 45351 Release Date: 07/13/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Adams,  Elliott Carter,  Howard Sandroff,  Steve Reich
    Performer:  André Trouttet,  Alain Damiens,  Franck Rossi
    Conductor:  David Robertson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble InterContemporain
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  • 146.
    The American Piano - Barber, Copland, Carter / John Owings
    Label: Koch International Classics   Catalog: 7622 Release Date: 02/16/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Elliott Carter,  Samuel Barber,  Aaron Copland
    Performer:  John Owings
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  • 147.
    Summer Music / Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 952 Release Date: 11/01/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Samuel Barber,  Elliott Carter,  Gunther Schuller,  Kazimierz Machala  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Woodwind Quintet
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  • 148.
    Sheer Pluck - Mamlok, Babbitt, Berio, Et Al / Todd Seelye
    Label: Music & Arts Programs Of America   Catalog: 1032 Release Date: 10/20/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Morris,  Luciano Berio,  Elliott Carter,  Charles Wuorinen  ... 
    Performer:  Todd Seelye
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  • 149.
    Newdance - 18 Dances For Guitar / David Starobin
    Label: Bridge   Catalog: 9084 Release Date: 09/15/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Apostolos Paraskevas,  Bryan Johanson,  Paul Lansky,  Poul Ruders  ... 
    Performer:  David Starobin
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  • 150.
    Hidden Sparks - Carter, Machover, Et Al / Dizes-richard
    Label: New World Records   Catalog: 80333 Release Date: 12/16/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Melby,  Ralph Shapey,  Tod Machover,  Elliott Carter
    Performer:  Maryvonne Le Dizès-Richard,  Jean-Claude Henriot
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