Hi again, I tried finding a bio in a press release or something, since I don't want to give you anything that might be subject to copyright issues, but couldn't. If necessary I could try to rewrite something in my own words. But if it works for you, I found one that I particularly liked on the Naxos site. I suppose you should credit them if you think you can use it. The URL is http://www.naxos.com/composerinfo/Ellio ... /25710.htm
Here it is:
CARTER, ELLIOTT BIOGRAPHY
(b 1908 )
Although a very few composers have just about managed to keep going into their tenth decades, it is hard to think of a precedent for the inexhaustible creativity of the American master Elliott Carter as he approaches his centenary. But then as a New York schoolboy after the First World War he did have the good fortune to grow up during a particularly adventurous phase in the city’s cultural history. Personally encouraged by that awesome American pioneer Charles Ives, and early excited by the modernist masterpieces of Scriabin, Stravinsky, Berg and Varèse which Koussevitzky and Stokowski were then promoting, Carter retains to this day a notion of modernism as a breaking away from convention, a continuing quest for new modes of sound and expression.
It was, however, to take him many years to sort out the implications of those tumultuous first impressions. After studying with Holst for a few months at Harvard in 1932, he submitted to three years of strict instruction in Paris under the neo-classically inclined Nadia Boulanger – only to find that the New Deal United States to which he returned in 1935 favoured a more populist reaching out to the masses in the manner of his friend Copland. For a time Carter emulated his example in such approachable works as the Symphony No 1 (1942) and Holiday Overture (1944) [Naxos 8.559151], but by the mid-1940s it was evident that the neat forms of neo-classicism and the simplicities of populism were too restrictive to contain his more modernistic aspirations.
With the appearance of his majestic Piano Sonata (1946), he embarked upon a radical redefining of every aspect of his compositional technique from the most basic elements of rhythm and pitch to the ‘time-sweep’ of entire musical forms. However, unlike some of the more doctrinaire figures of the newly resurgent avantgarde after the Second World War, such as Stockhausen, Carter never regarded technical innovation as an end in itself, but as a means to capture – with a ‘focussed freedom’ – the teeming simultaneities and changefulness of modern life.
This, he found, was not easily done: ‘Each new piece is a crisis in my life,’ he once remarked. But the result was a slowly appearing succession of vastly detailed masterpieces from the epic String Quartet No 1 (1951) by way of the grandiose Variations for Orchestra (1956) and coruscating Double Concerto (1961) to the tumultuous Concerto for Orchestra (1969) and kaleidoscopic A Symphony of Three Orchestras (1976), which established his international reputation. The reward for this heroic middle period has been the increasing ease and spontaneity of his composing in more recent decades, enabling him to complete not only the largest orchestral project of his life Symphonia (1992-6) in his late eighties and his first opera What Next? (1998) at the age of ninety, but a dazzling array of further pieces – an Indian Summer that has now lasted over a quarter of a century.
Of course it is a year out of date, because he has now reached his centenary! I'm adding a photo as well, which is available for press, so I imagine also for purposes like this, but you should include the copyright
© 2003 Jeffrey Herman
Or you can choose another from this site:http://www.carter100.com/press.html
There are some great photos there, one with Stravinsky, Bernstein, and Cage. If I remember right his piano concerto was a birthday present for Stravinsky, who really liked it. Now that's a difficult piece!
Let me know if this doesn't work and I'll see what else I can do!