As I've mentioned in the past, New Yorkers got into the ridiculous habit in recent years of expecting to see Elliott Carter out at concerts, long after most of us would be propped up in a hospital bed in some half-conscious stupor. Even more remarkable, Elliott—everyone always called him by name—continued to be productive, finishing a new work for pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard in August.
As most folks have heard by now, Elliott, one of the greatest and most influential composers this country has ever produced, passed away on Monday, a month shy of his 104th birthday. From his centenary concert at Carnegie Hall, to the week-long festival of his music at Tanglewood, to his 103rd birthday concert last year, I had the good fortune to hear Elliott's music on numerous occasions, often finding myself sitting adjacent to him and his longtime assistant, Virgil Blackwell. It will be strange not to see him in the audience the next time his music is performed in New York, which it undoubtedly will be in the months and years to come.