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 151-175 of 186 Available Recordings
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  • 151.
    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 Dizčs-Richard,  Jean-Claude Henriot
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  • 152.
    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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  • 153.
    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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  • 154.
    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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  • 155.
    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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  • 156.
    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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  • 157.
    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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  • 158.
    Metamorphosen - Dan Coleman, Irving Fine, Et Al / Scott Yoo
    Label: Albany Records   Catalog: 194 Release Date: 04/16/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Corigliano,  Elena Ruehr,  Elliott Carter,  Ellen Taaffe Zwilich  ... 
    Conductor:  Scott Yoo
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metamorphosen Chamber Orchestra
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  • 159.
    Songs Of Solitude - Carter, Et Al / Curtis Macomber
    Label: Composers Recordings, Inc. (Cri)   Catalog: 706 Release Date: 02/20/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Shulamit Ran,  Mario Davidovsky,  John Harbison,  Steven R. Gerber  ... 
    Performer:  Curtis Macomber
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  • 160.
    Carter, Rachmaninoff: Cello Sonatas / Ross, Brancart
    Label: Boston Records   Catalog: 1006 Release Date: 12/27/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Elliott Carter
    Performer:  Anthony Ross,  Evelyne Brancart
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  • 161.
    Carter: Night Fantasies;  Cage: Etudes Australes / Drury
    Label: Neuma   Catalog: 76 Release Date: 12/13/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Cage,  Elliott Carter
    Performer:  Stephen Drury
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  • 162.
    Label: Neuma   Catalog: 81 Release Date: 12/13/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Carl,  Thomas DeLio,  Andrew Imbrie,  Pozzi Escot  ... 
    Performer:  Leslie Amper,  Harvey Sollberger,  Carol Lieberman
    Conductor:  Ronald Feldman,  Christopher Shultis,  Francis Wada
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Extention Works,  Univ. of New Mexico Contemporary Chamber Ensemble,  New Events Ensemble
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  • 163.
    Prokofiev, Carter: Cello Sonatas / David Pereira, Lisa Moore
    Label: Tall Poppies   Catalog: 32 Release Date: 11/20/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Elliott Carter,  Sergei Prokofiev
    Performer:  Lisa Moore,  David Pereira
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  • 164.
    The Contemporary American
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 52 Release Date: 09/19/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Elliott Carter,  John Cage,  George Crumb,  Paul Creston  ... 
    Performer:  Gert Mortensen,  Anders Holdar,  Jan Hellgren,  Ingvar Hallgren  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kroumata Percussion Ensemble
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  • 165.
    American Music For Viola & Piano / Wheeler, Tomfohrde
    Label: Albany Records   Catalog: 141 Release Date: 08/10/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Elliott Carter,  Bernhard Heiden,  Paul Creston,  George Rochberg
    Performer:  Lawrence Wheeler,  Ruth Tomfohrde
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  • 166.
    Carter: Partita;  Berio: Continuo;  Takemitsu / Barenboim
    Label: Teldec   Catalog: 99596 Release Date: 06/06/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Toru Takemitsu,  Luciano Berio,  Elliott Carter
    Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
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  • 167.
    Gerard Schwarz Performs New Music For Trumpet
    Label: Phoenix Usa   Catalog: 115 Release Date: 06/02/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Stefan Wolpe,  Charles Whittenberg,  Richard Moryl,  Elliott Carter  ... 
    Performer:  Gerard Schwarz,  Stanley Rosenzweig,  Louis Ranger
    Conductor:  Henry Brant
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  • 168.
    Patricia Spencer - The Now And Present Flute
    Label: Neuma   Catalog: 88 Release Date: 04/16/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Salvatore Martirano,  Stephen Jaffe,  Shirish Korde,  Pierre Boulez  ... 
    Performer:  Patricia Spencer,  Linda Hall
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  • 169.
    An American Sampler - From Billings To Bolcom / Paul Sperry
    Label: Albany Records   Catalog: 81 Release Date: 04/07/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maury Yeston,  Warren Swenson,  Stephen Foster,  Elliott Carter  ... 
    Performer:  Paul Sperry,  Irma Vallecillo
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  • 170.
    Bergsma, Rochberg, Carter, Et Al / Westwood Wind Quintet
    Label: Crystal   Catalog: 752 Release Date: 02/16/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  William Schuman,  Gunther Schuller,  Anthony Plog,  John Biggs  ... 
    Performer:  John Barcellona,  Peter Christ,  Joseph Meyer,  David Muller  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westwood Wind Quintet
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  • 171.
    Permit Me Voyage - Songs By Americans / Hart, Helmrich
    Label: Albany Records   Catalog: 118 Release Date: 01/25/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gary Schocker,  Ricky Ian Gordon,  Richard Hundley,  William Flanagan  ... 
    Performer:  Dennis Helmrich,  Mary Ann Hart
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  • 172.
    The Romantic Approach - A Collection Of 20th Century American Music
    Label: Celestial Harmonies   Catalog: 13087 Release Date: 09/01/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ferde Grofé,  Edward "Duke" Ellington,  Peter Schickele,  Arthur Foote  ... 
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  • 173.
    Carter: Eight Compositions / Group For Contemporary Music
    Label: Bridge   Catalog: 9044 Release Date: 06/28/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Elliott Carter
    Performer:  Fred Sherry,  Charles Wuorinen,  Rolf Schulte,  Charles Neidich  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Group for Contemporary Music
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  • 174.
    Carter: Orchestral Songs, Complete Choral Music / Rees, Etc
    Label: Composers Recordings, Inc. (Cri)   Catalog: 648 Release Date: 06/13/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Elliott Carter
    Performer:  Rosalind Rees,  Jerald Stone,  Paul Suits,  Jan Opalach  ... 
    Conductor:  Gregg Smith
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Adirondack Chamber Orchestra,  Gregg Smith Singers,  Long Island Symphonic Choral Association  ... 
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  • 175.
    Thorne: Symphony No 5;  Roussakis; Carter / Davies, Et Al
    Label: Composers Recordings, Inc. (Cri)   Catalog: 552 Release Date: 06/10/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Elliott Carter,  Nicolas Roussakis,  Francis Thorne
    Conductor:  Paul Dunkel,  Dennis Russell Davies
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  American Composers Orchestra
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