A great master of the string quartet, Elliott Carter set the standard for excellence over nine decades, from the 1930s to the 2010s. Carter also wrote fantastical orchestral scores, often for the 20th century’s most prominent conductors, including Leonard Bernstein, James Levine, Daniel Barenboim, and Pierre Boulez.
For this special celebration, several of Carter’s close friends, many who serve on the doctoral faculty of the Graduate Center, come together to present some of Carter’s most sparkling works. Rolf Schulte studied all of Carter’s solo violin music with the composer and made benchmark recordings. Charles Neidich was a longtime ally, often playing the Clarinet Concerto, and, with his wife who was also dedicated to Carter, performed a duet for clarinets written in 2001. Ursula Oppens enjoyed a relationship with the composer and his music that went back almost half a century, to her time as a student at Marlboro in the early 1960s. Oppens was one of four pianists to whom Carter dedicated his piano masterwork Night Fantasies, which she included on her Grammy-nominated album Oppens Plays Carter, released in 2008 to mark the composer’s centenary.
Continuing the tradition, the Graduate Center’s music program presents these Carter champions alongside doctoral students who will take the music on to a further generation. Steven Beck has been asked to record the late piano works for Bridge Records, while Caroline Chin has recorded 4 Lauds
and Tre Duetti
for Centaur Records. Caroline Bean performed in the Carter centenary concerts at Tanglewood, and Aaron Likness, who has worked with numerous composers, is studying Carter’s music with Oppens.