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Collection Elliott Carter Collection

About this Collection

Elliott Carter  (1908-2012) was one of the most innovative American composers of the twentieth century.  An extensive collection of his holograph scores and sketches are available in the Library of Congress, and a portion of these sketches have been made available online for researchers.  These sketches trace the composer's journey of discovery during the most defining part of his career: 1932-1971.

The Elliott Carter Collection in the Library of Congress  is an extensive collection of holograph scores and sketches. It begins with 200 pages of counterpoint exercises from the early 1930s when Carter was studying with Nadia Boulanger in Paris and ends with the holograph score and 2,400 pages of sketches for his String Quartet no.3 (1971) which earned Carter his second Pulitzer Prize. Also included are holograph scores and voluminous sketches for: Canonic Suite; Piano Sonata (200 pages of sketches); Minotaur Suite; Emblems; Woodwind Quintet; Cello Sonata (400 pages of sketches); Eight Etudes and a Fantasy; String Quartet no.1 (550 pages of sketches); Six Pieces for [4] Kettledrums; Sonata for Flute, Oboe, Cello and Harpsichord; Variations for Orchestra (1,500 pages of sketches); Double Concerto for piano, harpsichord and two chamber orchestras (4,000 pages of sketches); Piano Concerto (7,500 pages of sketches); and other works. An item of note is the early 8-page version of the "harmony book" dated "Nov. 21, 1965" located in the sketches for String Quartet no.3. Besides thoroughly covering what is arguably his most innovative period, this is probably the largest single collection of Carter holograph material available for research in the United States.