Carter, Elliott (Cook, Jr.)(1908– ) composer; born in New York City. Encouraged by Charles Ives to pursue composition, he graduated from Harvard and for three years studied with famed pedagogue Nadia Boulanger in Paris. He spent the 1940s teaching, writing on music, and composing relatively conservative music with modest success. Then his 1951 First String Quartet, a bold departure, brought him into the international avant-garde. He explored increasingly complex rhythmic ideas with a series of works including three more string quartets and the 1961 Double Concerto.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.