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.
Read less
Browse 176-184 of 184 Available Recordings
1 2 ... 7 8
  • 176.
    Another View - American Classics For Winds / Sierra Wind Quintet
    Label: Cambria   Catalog: 1091 Release Date: 08/23/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Elliott Carter,  David Diamond,  Walter Piston,  Gunther Schuller
    Performer:  Kristin Wolfe-Jensen,  Richard L. Soule,  Felix Viscuglia,  Stephen Caplan  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sierra Wind Quintet
    CD: $17.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $17.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 177.
    Paul Cortese - Viola
    Label: Crystal   Catalog: 636 Release Date: 06/25/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Vincent Persichetti,  George Rochberg,  Alan Hovhaness,  William Bergsma  ... 
    Performer:  Paul Cortese,  Jon Klibonoff
    On sale! $16.98
    CD: $14.99
    Low Stock
    On sale!   $16.98   CD:  $14.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 178.
    Carter: The Vocal Works (1975-1981) / Speculum Musicae
    Label: Bridge   Catalog: 9014 Release Date: 02/19/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Elliott Carter
    Performer:  Patrick Mason,  Donald Palma,  Eric Bartlett,  John Graham  ... 
    Conductor:  David Starobin,  William Purvis,  Robert Black,  Donald Palma
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Speculum Musicae
    Recommendation
    On sale! $19.98
    CD: $16.99
    In Stock
    On sale!   $19.98   CD:  $16.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 179.
    Carter: Piano Concerto, Variations For Orchestra
    Label: New World Records   Catalog: 80347 Release Date: 12/08/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Elliott Carter
    Performer:  Thomas LeGrand,  George Hambrecht,  Marna Street-Ramsey,  Barry Green  ... 
    Conductor:  Michael Gielen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
    Recommendation
    On sale! $19.98
    CD: $16.99
    In Stock
    On sale!   $19.98   CD:  $16.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 180.
    Songs of America / Jan DeGaetani, Gilbert Kalish
    Label: Nonesuch   Catalog: 79178 Release Date: 05/28/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Ives,  Aaron Copland,  William Bolcom,  Aaron Jay Kernis  ... 
    Performer:  Joyce Robbins,  Jan DeGaetani,  Gilbert Kalish
    Recommendation
    ArkivCD $16.99
    Low Stock
    ArkivCD:  $16.99 Add to Cart

  • 181.
    Carter: String Quartets 1 & 2 / Composers Quartet
    Label: Nonesuch   Catalog: 71249 Release Date: 05/07/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Elliott Carter
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Composers String Quartet
    Recommendation
    ArkivCD $16.99
    Low Stock
    ArkivCD:  $16.99 Add to Cart

  • 182.
    Carter, Babbitt, Powell: String Quartets / Composers Quartet
    Label: Music & Arts Programs Of America   Catalog: CD606 Release Date: 12/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Elliott Carter,  Milton Babbitt,  Mel Powell
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Composers String Quartet
    Recommendation
    ArkivCD $16.99
    In Stock
    ArkivCD:  $16.99 Add to Cart

  • 183.
    Carter: Emblems; McKinley, Sheng, Amlin / John Oliver Chorale
    Label: Koch International Classics   Catalog: KIC 7178 Release Date: 01/24/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Elliott Carter,  Bright Sheng,  Martin Amlin,  William Thomas McKinley
    Conductor:  John Oliver
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  John Oliver Chorale
    Recommendation
    ArkivCD $16.99
    Low Stock
    ArkivCD:  $16.99 Add to Cart

  • 184.
    Carter: To Music, Tarantella, Harvest Home / John Oliver Chorale
    Label: Koch International Classics   Catalog: 7415 Release Date: 11/17/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Elliott Carter
    Performer:  Annette Anfinrud,  Frank Corliss,  Martin Amlin,  Alan Brody
    Conductor:  John Oliver
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  John Oliver Chorale,  Orchestra
    ArkivCD $16.99
    Special Order
    ArkivCD:  $16.99 Add to Cart

1 2 ... 7 8