Elliott Carter, 1908-2012


The grand old man of new music is gone. Elliott Cook Carter died Monday in New York. He was 103.

AP obit here

A page from his publisher's website gives an idea of what he had been up to lately, including a premiere by Gustavo Dudamel, pianist Daniel Barenboim and the Orchestra of La Scala just days ago.

Reviews of his music in (and near) Philadelphia capture, I think, some essential truths about Carter's language: an Orchestra 2001 concert that featured his Asko Concerto (2000) and Dialogues (2003), review here; and his first opera, What Next?, premiered in 2000, review here.

The Juilliard Quartet made history in a 1991 Free Library of Philadelphia concert when it put all four Carter String Quartets on one program. Read a young critic's account here.

"Wait, is that a melody? No, just a fleeting fragment. Didn't we hear that figure before? Maybe. But not in that exact form. The sound world of Elliott Carter is not the most obvious one to navigate, but his aesthetic at least is consistent." This excerpt from a 2008 review of his Oboe Quartet. The entire piece here.