American composer Elliott Carter died yesterday after a very long life and an excellent career. He died a few weeks before his 104th birthday, composing to the end. His 100th birthday was celebrated by many performances of his pieces, new and old. He had several premieres of new pieces this year and he finished his last composition in August. His music can be challenging for listeners, but often the best music is.
My first exposure to Carter was in college; we sang his setting of Emily Dickinson's poem, "Heart Not So Heavy As Mine." I think it was the most difficult piece I had learned to that point, but it started my interest in "new music." It seems a very appropriate way to remember him.