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 126-150 of 181 Available Recordings
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  • 126.
    Four Paintings
    Label: Crs Artists (Contemporary Record Society   Catalog: 9970 Release Date: 07/30/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Andrey Kasparov,  Robert Reno,  Georgia Shreve,  Mary J. Van Appledorn  ... 
    Performer:  Oksana Lutsyshyn,  Janna Hall,  Althea Holdcroft,  David Clemensen  ... 
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  • 127.
    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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  • 128.
    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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  • 129.
    D'un Siecle A L'autre
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 782096 Release Date: 05/23/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Leos Janácek,  Gustav Mahler,  Claude Debussy,  Jean Sibelius  ... 
    Performer:  Hüseyin Sermet,  Régis Pasquier,  Gustav Schmahl,  Manfred Reinelt  ... 
    Conductor:  Václav Neumann,  Charles Munch,  Pierre Bartholomée,  Erich Bergel  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Novák String Quartet,  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra,  ORTF National Orchestra  ... 
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  • 130.
    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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  • 131.
    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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  • 132.
    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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  • 133.
    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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  • 134.
    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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  • 135.
    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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  • 136.
    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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  • 137.
    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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  • 138.
    Phoenix Chamber Choir - 10th Aniversary / Cortland Hultberg
    Label: Skylark Digital   Catalog: 9302 Release Date: 07/13/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Villiers Stanford,  Henry Thacker Burleigh,  Giles Swayne,  Knut Nystedt  ... 
    Conductor:  Cortland Hultberg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Phoenix Chamber Choir
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  • 139.
    Merit - American Piano - Music Of Our Time / Ursula Oppens
    Label: Music & Arts Programs Of America   Catalog: 4862 Release Date: 05/18/1999   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Anthony Davis,  John Harbison,  Tobias Picker,  Charles Wuorinen  ... 
    Performer:  Ursula Oppens
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  • 140.
    Summer Music / Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 952 Release Date: 11/01/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Julio Medaglia,  Liduino Pitombeira,  Heitor Villa-Lobos,  Kazimierz Machala  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Woodwind Quintet
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  • 141.
    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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  • 142.
    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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  • 143.
    Bernstein Century - Ives: Unanswered Question / New York Po
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 60203 Release Date: 03/31/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Elliott Carter,  Charles Ives
    Performer:  William Vacchiano
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein,  Maurice Peress,  Seiji Ozawa
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  Camerata Singers
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  • 144.
    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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  • 145.
    Carter: The Complete Music For Piano / Charles Rosen
    Label: Bridge   Catalog: 9090 Release Date: 11/18/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Elliott Carter
    Performer:  Charles Rosen
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  • 146.
    Of Challenge & Of Love - Stravinsky, Carter / Lucy Shelton
    Label: Koch International Classics   Catalog: 7425 Release Date: 11/18/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Igor Stravinsky,  Elliott Carter
    Performer:  John Constable,  Lucy Shelton
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  • 147.
    Juilliard String Quartet - 50 Years Vol 6 - The Scherzo
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 62712 Release Date: 10/01/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Elliott Carter,  Alban Berg,  Arnold Schoenberg  ... 
    Performer:  Robert Mann,  Samuel Rhodes,  Joel Krosnick,  Earl Carlyss  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Juilliard String Quartet
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  • 148.
    20th Century Baroque / Rembrandt Chamber Players
    Label: Cedille Records   Catalog: 11 Release Date: 08/24/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Manuel de Falla,  Elliott Carter,  Ilja Hurník,  Dominick Argento
    Performer:  Patrice Michaels
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rembrandt Chamber Players
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  • 149.
    Carolyn Hove - Music By Hindemith, Salonen, Et Al / Cheng
    Label: Crystal   Catalog: 328 Release Date: 08/24/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Paul Hindemith,  Esa-Pekka Salonen,  John Marvin,  Vincent Persichetti  ... 
    Performer:  Carolyn Hove,  Gloria Cheng
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  • 150.
    Americana - Choral Works By Thompson, Carter & Shifrin
    Label: New World Records   Catalog: 80219 Release Date: 07/09/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Seymour Shifrin,  Elliott Carter,  Randall Thompson
    Conductor:  Thomas Hilbish
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  University of Michigan Chamber Choir,  University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra members
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