Elliott Carter, one of the preeminent American composers of the past century, has died at 103. He died of natural causes at his home in New York, according to his close friend and assistant Virgil Blackwell.
A prolific composer who won two Pulitzer Prizes, Carter was a titan of the contemporary music world. He penned works for orchestras, chamber ensembles, solo instruments and singers. His music evolved throughout his career, with his best-known works marked by atonal sounds and experimental rhythms.
Active until the end, Carter did not allow old age to slow his productivity. One of his most recent works, "Dialogues II," a piece for piano and orchestra, had its world premiere last month at La Scala in Milan, Italy, conducted by Gustavo Dudamel.
Another piece, "Instances" for chamber orchestra, is scheduled to debut next year at the Seattle Symphony.
Carter's music was influenced by many of the great 20th century composers, including Igor Stravinsky and Paul Hindemith. While his compositions were praised by critics and other writers, the general public had a more difficult time warming to his music due to its complexities.