I had the good fortune to know Elliott for more than 40 years. We first met in 1970 on a visit he made to Baltimore, while I was a Freshman at Peabody Conservatory. After a concert of his music (which included his dazzling Sonata for Flute, Oboe, Cello and Harpsichord), I brashly asked him to write a guitar solo for me. His kindness in taking a moment to consider the idea encouraged me immensely, and we would discuss it whenever we met during the next dozen years. After a concert at the Whitney Museum in the early months of 1983, he told me he was ready to write the piece. As a young musician, I naturally had no money to offer for a commission, but Elliott generously agreed that I should simply send him my fee for the premiere performance of the work. Elliott wrote the superb Changes, and I premiered it at his 75th birthday concert at the Library of Congress and at the 92nd St. Y in New York. About two weeks after sending him my modest fee I received a letter from the Fromm Foundation at Harvard, stating that “through the generosity of Elliott Carter,” I would be receiving a Fromm grant (for an amount considerably higher than I had sent Elliott). I have always remembered this example of “looking out” for a young musician, and have tried to follow suit whenever I could. This is but a single instance of Helen and Elliott’s friendship over the years – a friendship Becky and I will never forget.
New Rochelle, NY – January 5, 2013