Elliott Carter dies at age 103

November 5, 2012 at 8:44 pm

By Lawrence A. Johnson

American composer Elliott Carter passed away Monday at age 103 in New York.

Carter composed 158 works over a seventy-five year career, from early works such as his Symphony No. 1 (1942) and Holiday Overture (1944), to Dialogues II (2012) which had its premiere just two weeks ago at La Scala. His final work, Instances, will receive its world premiere in February by the Seattle Symphony.

Born in New York City on December 11, 1908, Elliott Carter was encouraged toward a career in classical music by his mentor Charles Ives. He studied under composer Walter Piston while attending Harvard University, and later traveled to Paris, studying with Nadia Boulanger.

Carter won the Pulitzer Prize on two occasions: for his String Quartet No. 2, (1960) and String Quartet No. 3 (1973). Other awards include Germany’s Ernst Von Siemens Music Prize, and the Prince Pierre Foundation Music Award. Carter was the first composer to receive the United States National Media of Arts, and was one of a handful of composers elected to the American Classical Music Hall of Fame. He was recognized twice by the Government of France: named Commander of the “Ordre des Arts et des Lettres,” and most recently Commander of the Legion of Honor in September 2012.

On his 100th birthday in 2008, Carter celebrated with a new work performed by the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. The Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music dedicated their entire 2008 series to the music of Elliott Carter.

He is survived by a son David, and his grandson Alexander.

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