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And even though he’s met such music giants as Stravinsky, Ives and Aaron Copland, and in a moment he terms a highlight, actually sat next to George Gershwin during a performance, Mozart is a personal favorite. “Mozart developed the idea of dramatic change in musical composition—a way that music had never been experienced before. I like things that change suddenly, and go off in a new direction. I like something that seems out of the frame, yet still fits into the frame,” he says, describing variations on a theme.
Carter didn’t receive recognition as a composer until midway through his career. He never imagined during the years he struggled that he would one day meet his inspiration— Stravinsky. “He was always a very enthusiastic, lively man, and liked my music a lot, which was very flattering.
“I can say it’s only in my maturity that I began being recognized. I was in my 40s already,” adds Carter.
As his reputation spread, Carter turned to literature, poetry and even films for inspiration, and was heavily influenced by the works of Russian film director Sergei Eisenstein. “I found it very interesting the way he cut his films—the way he featured different shots from the same scenes, but from different angles of the camera,” says Carter.
Reflecting on his present success, he laughs. “I don’t know whether I’ve made it even now,” he says. “What I am certain about is that I’m going to be 100 this year. I cannot but help feel that I’m getting a lot of performances because of my age.” He smiles. “If I had these kind of performances at a time when I was not strikingly old—I would have felt I had made it.”
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