Controversies and a Conversation

Talking with Elliott Carter

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Monday, June 18, 2012

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Growing up in a composer's family in Massachusetts in the 1980's, my concept of celebrity was perhaps a bit skewed. Charles Ives, Igor Stravinsky, and Nadia Boulanger were virtually deified, and carrying their torch were some larger-than-life figures: Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, Milton Babbitt, and Elliott Carter.

To say Elliott Carter was revered in my family is an understatement. Carter was a composer's composer; he was a new music father figure to MY father, and in fact Elliott Carter's thumbprint has been all over American music for the past 70 years. Born in 1908, Carter has lived through so much history, so many aesthetic trends and cultural shifts, his perspective is fascinating and singular.

On the occasion of his writing a brand-new orchestral work for the New York Philharmonic's CONTACT! series, I had the unbelievable honor of visiting Elliott Carter in his home in Greenwich Village last week to interview him about his music and his aesthetic. This week, in anticipation of our broadcast of the New York Phil's most recent CONTACT! concert on our series Cued Up (Tuesday at 3pm, Wednesday at 7pm and Saturday at 10am), I'll be interspersing my show with excerpts from this incredible interview. Eventually, once this field recording has been converted by audio geniuses (genii?) into something that sounds more radio-y, Carter will join the ranks of other Q2 celebrities and intros will be placed into our web stream.

Join me this week Monday-Friday from 11-2 for incredible words from a living legend. (Meanwhile, check out this video posted by the New York Phil about "Two Controversies and a Conversation")

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Nadia Sirota
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