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Elliott Carter, 1908 - 2012Composer and Ballet Caravan Music Director


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#1 Kathleen O'Connell

Kathleen O'Connell

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 11:28 AM

As Quiggin pointed out in the Charles Rosen thread, the great American avant-garde composer Elliot Carter also died recently at the grand old age of 103. An exact contemporary of John Cage, Carter wrapped up his final composition a scant few months before his death.

Carter was the music director of Lincoln Kirstein’s Ballet Caravan for two years (1937-39) and composed the ballet Pocahontas for the company.

Carter’s New York Times obit is here.

In 2011 two young ballet choreographers -- Emery LeCrone and Avi Scher – were each given the opportunity to set a new work to five of Carter’s short chamber compositions under the auspices of the Guggenheim’s Works & Process Series.

Their new ballets were premiered at a Works & Process program in early October 2011. Our own Leigh Witchel was the moderator.

Alas, this wasn’t one of the programs that the Works & Process folks chose to archive in its entirety on the web, but you can see some clips from the program itself and the pre-program publicity on YouTube.

A short video containing extracts from the Works & Process program, including clips from both the works and the accompanying discussions are here.

Here's “Sneak Peak” of Avi Scher’s contribution (“It Makes Me Nervous”).

Here’s one of Emery LeCrone’s contribution (“With Thoughtful Lightness”)

Here’s a related clip from an interview with Emery LeCrone and her sister, NYCB dancer Megan LeCrone.

Brian Seibert reviewed the Works & Process program in the New York Times.

Carter’s publisher, Boosey & Hawkes, interviewed him in his Manhattan apartment in 2010. You can watch the interviews – which document his career and features clips from some of his works here.

Boosey has posted extracts from his work here.

I love Carter’s string quartets, but my absolute favorite among his works is his 1952 Sonata for Flute, Oboe, Cello & Harpsichord.


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