Elliott Carter @ 100

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Born 100 years ago today, composer Elliott Carter was not only an important musical presence for most of the last century, but is still churning out new and challenging works for the present one. Overnight Music host and contemporary music performer Nadia Sirota joins Terrance McKnight for a special tribute: from the tuneful early works through the Pulitzer Prize-winning String Quartets, we trace the emergence and development of Carter's innovative compositional techniques.

Visit Carter's Centenary Website
Special Feature: see Nadia Sirota's Carter-related tattoos

WNYC Exclusive: Carter's Elegy

Renowned cellist and frequent Carter collaborator Fred Sherry recently paid a visit to the WNYC studios to record a new Carter work written specifically for him. Listen to Sherry's performance of the Elegy for Cello and Piano, with his wife Carol Archer at the keyboard.


Comments [15]



Apr. 18 2009 07:45 PM
James Doran from bed-stuy

Hey Terrance
Thanks so much for such amazing and eclectic play lists every night you are on. Will you please podcast your show, my father in England introduced me to music at a very early age by taking me to see a performance of Flight of the Bumble Bee and other children's performances by the London Philarmonic Orchestra in about 1976. I call him every Sunday -- he is 75 now -- and spend most of my time telling him what you have played during the week. He then tells me where he first heard the piece and whatever anecdotes he has associated with it. Usually he comes back to the fact that he saw Pavarotti's first performance in the 1960s when he filled in for some other tenor who was sick. I would much rather send him your podcast or buy him an i-pod for his birthday and then tell him how to subscribe. Please let me know if you can do this. Thanks for everything Terrance, your music is frequently the highlight of my day. J

Mar. 04 2009 07:48 PM
Fergus from Ruse, Bulgaria

How I have enjoyed Carter's music over the years, since I first came across it when he came to Dublin in 1980 and I was a student. To be writing such vital music at 100 is remarkable. It must have to do with the fact that he's always smiling! Thank you so much, Elliot Carter. I look forward to more.

Dec. 13 2008 09:50 AM
John Michael Krois from Berlin

For years Carter's music has appealed to me more than any other composer's. Normally, if you listen to a recorded piece of music repeatedly you finally have enough. This music only begins to open up then. You notice: this is worth listening to closely, then you hear how surprising new things emerge and you don't know how. That's why it feels like something real is happening.
Thanks for the show. Wish I'd heard overnight music.

Dec. 12 2008 04:10 PM
Nadia Sirota from WNYC

Hey Greg,

It's called "Le Ray Au Soley" (Olde French style!)


Dec. 12 2008 02:54 PM
Nadia Sirota from WNYC

Hey Adrian,

Thanks for your great comment and Happy Early Birthday! I hope you Carter-related birthday band brings down the house!


Dec. 12 2008 02:52 PM
Adrian Greensmith from Brooklyn

Dear Nadia,

This is Simone Dinnnerstein's son, Adrian. I am six years old. I was listening to this radio program when I was going to sleep last night. I think it is awesome!

My birthday is on the 23rd of December. I am putting together a band for my birthday party. You gave me great ideas!

I've seen you play at the Whitney Museum. I think you are a great musician.


PS Happy birthday, Terrance!

Dec. 12 2008 09:59 AM
debbie from Brooklyn

Happy Birthday Terrance.

Dec. 11 2008 10:50 PM
Greg Shafritz from Harlem, NYC

OK, I give up - what was the name of that Johannes Ciconia piece that Nadia played to illustrate composite rhythm? I don't think it was announced!

I am LOVING this show.
Thank you both for the education and thank you Elliott Carter for the inspiration!
My brain is happily bifurcating now...

Dec. 11 2008 10:05 PM
Jody from Jersey City

Great show, thanks to all involved

Dec. 11 2008 09:49 PM
Richard Mitnick from Highland Park ,NJ

Boy oh Boy!! Where is everyone? Is Carter too much? I just bought the 1961 Double Concerto mentioned in a WSJ piece on Maestro Carter.

I described Carter's music to a major critic as like being hit in the face with sleet: it's not really painful; but you know something very real is happening. He said that he liked the description. I know that i am a fan, I think he is also.


Dec. 11 2008 09:40 PM
Dano from New York

Wow! Mind expanding like it used to be done. Great new connections. Thank you Nadia, thank you Terrance. And thanks so much Mr. Carter!!

Dec. 11 2008 09:32 PM
Richard Mitnick from Highland Park ,NJ

Tell me that is not Hilary Hahn in the Barber.


Dec. 11 2008 07:34 PM
Shirley Leong from Suffield/West Hartford CT

to Mr. Carter - Happy Birthday! How about starting a facebook page? then we can all post to it!

Dec. 11 2008 07:07 PM
Dan the Music Master from

Elliott Carter is one of a kind. His enthusiasm is an inspiration to myself and my fellow composers.

Dec. 11 2008 12:48 PM

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