Elliott Carter is "One of America's most distinguished creative artists in any field" (Aaron Copland). Carter was initially encouraged to become a composer by Charles Ives who had sold insurance to his parents, later going on to study at Harvard with Walter Piston and in Paris with Nadia Boulanger. With his explorations into tempo relationships and texture, Carter's consistently innovative and dynamic output of works is unmistakably American. Sometimes, in works such as the String Quartet No 1, it is reminiscent of the vastness of the American landscapes; at other times, for example in the Concerto for Orchestra, his complex counterpoint conjures up the dense and hectic environment of the big cities. His intricate, mercurial work often mirrors human interactions and relationships. Recent years have seen an outpouring of major orchestral scores such as Micomicón and Soundings, along with numerous chamber works. Carter’s late style is marked by transparency and clarity of texture, with a new directness of formal design. His music has been championed by leading conductors including Boulez, Barenboim, Knussen, Nagano, Dohnányi, Levine, Gielen, Holliger, Robertson, and Bamert, and his many awards include official recognition from the governments of France, Germany, Italy, and the U.S.