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 26-50 of 181 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Elementia / Eric Banks, The Esoterics
    Label: Terpsichore Records   Catalog: 301 Release Date: 08/28/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  David Asplin,  Donald M. Skirvin,  Ildebrando Pizzetti,  Lajos Bárdos  ... 
    Performer:  Skylar Carroll,  Tom Hitt,  Cathy Federici,  Pam Anderson  ... 
    Conductor:  Eric Banks
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Esoterics
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  • 27.
    Immaginosa / Eric Banks, The Esoterics
    Label: Terpsichore (Classical)   Catalog: 505 Release Date: 08/28/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Irving Fine,  William Hawley,  Elliott Carter,  Stephen Paulus  ... 
    Performer:  Kristen Ramer,  Kathea Yarnell,  Laura Certain,  Chris Jeffries  ... 
    Conductor:  Eric Banks
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Esoterics
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  • 28.
    American Song / Meriel Dickinson, Peter Dickinson
    Label: Heritage   Catalog: 231 Release Date: 07/17/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Gershwin,  Elliott Carter,  Virgil Thomson,  John Cage  ... 
    Performer:  Peter Dickinson,  Meriel Dickinson
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  • 29.
    Francesca Anderegg
    Label: Albany Records   Catalog: 1361 Release Date: 07/10/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Arnold Schoenberg,  George Perle,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Francesca Anderegg,  Brent Funderburk
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  • 30.
    Imaginary Landscapes - Sounds of America [20-CD Set]
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 44290 Release Date: 07/03/2012   Number of Discs: 20
    Composer:  John Philip Sousa,  Scott Joplin,  Ferde Grofé,  George Gershwin  ... 
    Performer:  Joshua Rifkin,  Ralph Grierson,  Richard Rodney Bennett,  Barry Tuckwell  ... 
    Conductor:  Timothy Foley,  George Sponhaltz,  Felix Slatkin,  Ferde Grofé  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Great American Main Street Band,  Southland Stingers,  Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 31.
    Terrestre / Claire Chase
    Label: New Focus   Catalog: 122 Release Date: 03/27/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Kaija Saariaho,  Franco Donatoni,  Elliott Carter,  Pierre Boulez  ... 
    Performer:  Kivie Cahn-Lipman,  Claire Chase,  Nathan Davis,  Nuiko Wadden  ... 
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  • 32.
    A Recital Experience / Weimarer Blaserquintett
    Label: Genuin Musikproduction   Catalog: 12225 Release Date: 02/28/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Pavel Haas,  Elliott Carter,  Claude Paul Taffanel,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Weimarer Bläserquintett
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  • 33.
    J. S. Bach,  C. P. E.  Bach,  Berio, Carter, Britten / Celine Moinet
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 902118 Release Date: 02/14/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Luciano Berio,  Benjamin Britten,  Elliott Carter  ... 
    Performer:  Céline Moinet
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  • 34.
    Wanted - Boulez, Carter, Schaathun / Hakon Austbo
    Label: Norway Music   Catalog: 5071 Release Date: 01/31/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Pierre Boulez,  Elliott Carter,  Asbjorn Schaathun
    Performer:  Haakon Austbö,  Asbjorn Blokkum Flo
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  • 35.
    Looking Back: Schwantner, Carter, Persichetti, Barber, Martino / Garrison, Mauchley
    Label: Albany Records   Catalog: 1329 Release Date: 01/10/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Joseph Schwantner,  Elliott Carter,  Donald Martino,  Vincent Persichetti  ... 
    Performer:  Leonard Garrison,  Jay Mauchley
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  • 36.
    Contrechant /  Reto Bieri
    Label: Ecm   Catalog: 001627102 Release Date: 12/06/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Luciano Berio,  Elliott Carter,  Peter Eötvös,  Heinz Holliger  ... 
    Performer:  Reto Bieri
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  • 37.
    Lines / Caroline Stinson
    Label: Albany Records   Catalog: 1281 Release Date: 07/12/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ernest Bloch,  Roger Sessions,  John Harbison,  Witold Lutoslawski  ... 
    Performer:  Caroline Stinson,  Molly Morkoski
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  • 38.
    Orion Weiss Plays J.s. Bach, Scriabin, Mozart & Carter
    Label: Yarlung Records   Catalog: 78873 Release Date: 06/28/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alexander Scriabin,  Elliott Carter,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Orion Weiss
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  • 39.
    American Music For Percussion Vol 2 / New England Conservatory Percussion Ensemble
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8559684 Release Date: 05/31/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Elliott Carter,  Peter Child,  Edward Cohen,  John Harbison  ... 
    Conductor:  Frank Epstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New England Conservatory Percussion Ensemble
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  • 40.
    Carter: Concerto For Orchestra; Knussen: Oceans De Terre
    Label: Virgin Classics   Catalog: 96354 Release Date: 05/03/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Elliott Carter,  Oliver Knussen
    Performer:  Ole Böhn,  Lisa Saffer,  Lucy Shelton,  Peter Serkin
    Conductor:  Oliver Knussen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Sinfonietta,  Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
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  • 41.
    Prokofiev & Carter: Cello Sonatas
    Label: Tall Poppies   Catalog: 883178 Release Date: 01/25/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Prokofiev,  Elliott Carter
    Performer:  Lisa Moore,  David Pereira
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  • 42.
    Resonance / Daniel Lippel
    Label: New Focus   Catalog: 101 Release Date: 10/12/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Gilbert,  Judah E. Adashi,  Soonjung Suh,  Elliott Carter  ... 
    Performer:  Daniel Lippel
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  • 43.
    Musica Viva 18 - Carter, Zimmermann: Cello Concertos / Vogler, Jarvi
    Label: Neos   Catalog: 11014 Release Date: 09/28/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Elliott Carter,  Udo Zimmermann
    Performer:  Jan Vogler
    Conductor:  Kristjan Järvi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 44.
    The Voice Of The Composer - New Music From Bowling Green, Vol. 6
    Label: Albany Records   Catalog: 1214 Release Date: 09/14/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Elliott Carter,  Raymond Lustig,  Steven Edward Stucky,  Marilyn Shrude  ... 
    Performer:  Jacqueline Leclair,  Jesse Blumberg
    Conductor:  Emily Freeman Brown
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bowling Green Philharmonia
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  • 45.
    Alto/Multiples
    Label: Aeon   Catalog: 981 Release Date: 03/09/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Paul Hindemith,  Bernd Alois Zimmermann,  Luciano Berio,  Emmanuel Nunes  ... 
    Performer:  Christophe Desjardins
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  • 46.
    Old English Songs And Dances / Western Brass Quintet
    Label: Summit Records   Catalog: 537 Release Date: 03/09/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Whaley,  Donald Bullock,  Anthony Holborne,  Elliott Carter  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Western Brass Quintet
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  • 47.
    Label: Composers Recordings, Inc. (Cri)   Catalog: 118 Release Date: 03/01/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Quincy Porter,  Elliott Carter
    Performer:  David Glazer,  Murray Panitz,  Jerome Roth,  Bernard H. Garfield
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stanley Quartet of the University of Michigan
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  • 48.
    Music Of Elliott Carter, Vol. 8 (16 Compositions, 2002-2009)
    Label: Bridge   Catalog: 9314 Release Date: 02/09/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Elliott Carter
    Performer:  Lucy Shelton,  Charles Neidich,  Simon Boyar,  Huang Hsin-Yun  ... 
    Conductor:  Frank Epstein,  Oliver Knussen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Juilliard String Quartet,  New England Conservatory Percussion Ensemble,  BBC Singers  ... 
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  • 49.
    American Clarinet - Carter, Reich, Sandroff, Adams
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 67133 Release Date: 01/26/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Howard Sandroff,  Elliott Carter,  Steve Reich,  John Adams
    Performer:  Franck Rossi,  Alain Damiens,  André Trouttet
    Conductor:  David Robertson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble InterContemporain
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  • 50.
    Carter: Complete String Quartets [3 CDs & 1 DVD]
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8503226 Release Date: 01/26/2010   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Elliott Carter
    Performer:  Fujiko Imajishi,  David Hetherington,  Virgil Blackwell,  Robert Aitken  ... 
    Conductor:  Robert Aitken
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Music Concerts,  Pacifica String Quartet
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