Revolutionary composer, Elliott Carter (1908-2012), passed away November 5th, ending an award-winning career as an icon of modern orchestral music. As a two-time Pulitzer Prize winning composer, his contribution to the world of American musical composition is undeniable, but cello music shares a special relationship in the Carter legacy.
Elliott Carter’s debut into the realm of modern American composition initiated with “Sonata for Violoncello and Piano” (1948), inspired by and written for cellist, Bernard Greenhouse. At the time of the score’s conception, the standard of cello music was based upon (and still is to some extent) the celebrities of the Classical Era: Bach, Beethoven, and Haydn— just to name a few. Carter, influenced by the avant-garde rhythms of jazz, imagined cello music with a different attitude, but he would need to find a singular musician to give life to his music. Carter found such a musician in Bernard Greenhouse (1916-2011).
For more information
Bernard Greenhouse Digital Collection
Cello Music Collections at University Libraries, UNCG