Elliott Cook Carter Jr. (December 11, 1908 – November 5, 2012) was an American modernist composer. He is one of the most respected composers of the second half of the 20th century, having combined elements of European modernism and American “ultra-modernism” into a distinctive style with a personal harmonic and rhythmic language, after an early neoclassical phase. His compositions are known and performed throughout the world, and include orchestral, chamber music, solo instrumental, and vocal works. Carter was twice awarded the Pulitzer Prize.
Born in New York, he had developed an interest in modern music in the 1920s. He was later introduced to Charles Ives, and later came to appreciate the American ‘ultra-modernists’. After studying at Harvard University, he studied with Nadia Boulanger in Paris in the 1930s, then returned to the United States. Carter was productive in his later years, publishing more than 40 works between the ages of 90 and 100, and over 20 more after he turned 100 in 2008. He completed his last work, Epigrams for piano trio, on August 13, 2012.