Composer Elliott Carter dies at 103

Posted on: November 6, 2012

In Tuesday’s (11/6) New York Times, Allan Kozinn reports, “Elliott Carter, the American composer whose kaleidoscopic, rigorously organized works established him as one of the most important and enduring voices in contemporary music, died on Monday in Manhattan. He was 103 and had continued to compose into his 11th decade, completing his last piece in August. … Mr. Carter’s music, which brought him dozens of awards, including two Pulitzer Prizes, could seem harmonically brash and melodically sharp-edged on the first hearing, but it often yielded drama and lyricism on better acquaintance. … Mr. Carter, a protégé of the American modernist Charles Ives, acknowledged that his works could seem incomprehensible to listeners who were not grounded in the developments of 20th-century music. … Yet he had many advocates among players, and his works were frequently performed and recorded. … Despite his years, he remained vital almost until the end. His last composition, ‘12 Short Epigrams,’ a piano work for Pierre-Laurent Aimard, was completed on Aug. 13. Another piece, ‘Instances,’ for Ludovic Morlot and the Seattle Symphony (commissioned with the Tanglewood Music Center), was completed in April. … In June, in what Steve Smith, writing in The [New York] Times, called a ‘miracle of continuing miracles,’ the New York Philharmonic performed the premiere of ‘Two Controversies and a Conversation.’ … ‘The applause for Mr. Carter, wheelchair bound but characteristically animated,’ Mr. Smith wrote, ‘resounded thunderously.’ ” Symphony magazine profiled Carter in 2008, when the composer turned 100. To read Frank Oteri’s article on SymphonyNOW, click here.

Posted November 6, 2012