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Twice winner of the Pulitzer Prize, first composer to receive the United States National Medal of Arts, one of the few composers ever awarded Germany’s Ernst Von Siemens Music Prize, and in 1988 made Commandeur dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the Government of France, Elliott Carter is internationally recognized as one of the leading American voices of the classical music tradition. He recently received the Prince Pierre Foundation Music Award, bestowed by the Principality of Monaco, and was one of a handful of living composers elected to the Classical Music Hall of Fame.
First encouraged toward a musical career by his friend and mentor Charles Ives, Carter was recognized by the Pulitzer Prize Committee for the first time in 1960 for his groundbreaking String Quartet No. 2. Stravinsky hailed Carter’s Double Concerto for harpsichord, piano, and two chamber orchestras (1961) and Piano Concerto (1967), as masterpieces. While he spent much of the 1960s working on just two works, the Piano Concerto and Concerto for Orchestra (1969), the breakthroughs he achieved in those pieces led to an artistic resurgence that gathered momentum in the decades that followed. Indeed, one of the extraordinary features of Carter’s career is his astonishing productivity and creative vitality as he reaches the zenith of his tenth decade.
December 11, 2008 will mark Carter’s 100th birthday.
An incisive chamber concerto for solo piano and ensemble, Dialogues had its world premiere in January, 2004, with Nicolas Hodges the soloist and Oliver Knussen conducting the London Sinfonietta. The composer has written the following note:
“Dialogues for piano and chamber orchestra is a conversation between the soloist and the orchestra: responding to each other, sometimes interrupting the other, or arguing. The single varied movement is entirely derived from a small group of harmonies and rhythms.
“Commissioned by the BBC for the brilliant young pianist, Nicolas Hodges, it was composed in New York during 2003.”