For musicians who were just beginning our dreams of a meaningful musical journey in the mid-1950s, we were fortunate to have a remarkable philosophical and musical voice to be an inspiring presence and companion on our voyages. Starting with the Cello Sonata in 1948 and the String Quartet No. 1 in 1951, Elliott Carter began writing what eventually became 60 years of the most important and groundbreaking chamber works in the history of music.
The experiences of sharing the Five String Quartets, the Oboe Quartet, the Piano Quintet, and the Clarinet Quintet, among other great works, with him will forever remain among the most memorable events of my life in music. Elliott Carter has been gently, yet brilliantly and provocatively there for us through our whole musical lives, from when we were all starting out until now. Although he lived and created music until he was 103 years old, it is unnerving all of a sudden not to have him here leading us with his astonishing musical conceptions. His music will be alive in us forever.