Born in New York City on 11 December 1908, Elliott Carter began to be seriously interested in music in high school and was encouraged at that time by Charles Ives. He attended Harvard University where he studied with Walter Piston, and later went to Paris where for three years he studied with Nadia Boulanger. He then returned to New York to devote his time to composing and teaching.
With the explorations of tempo relationships and texture that characterize his music, Carter has been one of the prime innovators of 20th-century music. The challenges of works such as the Variations for Orchestra, Symphony of Three Orchestras, and the concertos and string quartets are richly rewarding.
Elliott Carter has been recipient of the highest honors that a composer can receive: the Gold Medal for Music awarded by the National Institute of Arts and Letters, the National Medal of Arts, membership in the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and honorary degrees from many universities. He has received two Pulitzer Prizes and commissions from prestigious organizations.
Elliott Carter died of natural causes on 5 November 2012 at his home in New York City at age 103.