Composer Elliott Carter dies in NY at age 103

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In 1992, Carter said his favorite piece of music was his Concerto for Orchestra, written in 1969. It was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic for its 125th anniversary season.

“It particularly expresses a picture of the United States as an evolving world of not only people, but of nature,” he said.

Among his early works were two ballets, “The Minotaur” and “Pocahontas,” and his First Symphony. His First String Quartet in 1951 started him on the road to greater critical attention.

Besides composing, Carter wrote extensively about 20th-century music. A collection of articles, “The Writings of Elliott Carter: An American Composer Looks at Modern Music,” was published in 1977.

Carter as born in New York in 1908. As a young man he became acquainted with composer Charles Ives, who encouraged his ambitions. Carter studied literature at Harvard and then studied music in Paris under Nadia Boulanger, the famed teacher who also guided Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland and Virgil Thompson.

As he turned 100, he recalled a visit to the hall in 1924 to see the New York premiere of Igor Stravinsky’s revolutionary work “The Rite of Spring.”

“I thought it was the greatest thing I ever heard, and I wanted to do like that, too,” Carter recalled. “Of course, half the audience walked out, which was even more pleasant to me. It seemed much more exciting than Beethoven and Brahms and the rest of them.”

In 1939, he married sculptor Helen H. Frost Jones. They had one son. He is survived by his son and a grandson.

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