Elliott Carter, the composer whom Aaron Copland described as “One of America’s most distinguished creative artists in any field” died on November 5th, aged 103. His creativity showed no signs of abating in his final years. One of his most recent compositions, Dialogues II received its premiere just last month with pianist Daniel Barenboim and Gustavo Dudamel conducting the Orchestra of La Scala in Milan. It is to be reprised by the Berlin Staatkespelle at the Philharmonie on November 15 with Zubin Mehta and Barenboim. Instances, for chamber orchestra, will be premiered by the Seattle Symphony and conductor Ludovic Morlot, in February 2013.
Carter was born in New York in 1908 and was mentored by Charles Ives. He studied literature at Harvard and then travelled to Paris where he learnt composition under Nadia Boulanger. His writing is complex, described by him as “music that asks to be listened to in a concentrated way and listened to with a great deal of attention.”. He won two Pulitzer Prizes, the first for his second string quartet in 1969 and the second for his third string quartet in 1972.
“It’s not music that makes an overt theatrical effect,” he said in 1992, “but it assumes the listener is listening to sounds and making some sense out of them.”
The Guardian says:” The complex way the instruments interact in his compositions created drama for listeners who made the effort to understand them, but it made them difficult for orchestras to learn. He said he tried to give each of the musicians individuality within the context of a comprehensible whole.”
Read more about Elliott Carter at:
Obituary in The Guardian: Click here
The New York Times reports: Click here
The Guardian’s guide to the music of Elliott Carter: Click here