My first encounter with Elliott’s music was in 1959 when I was a student of Paul Price at the Manhattan School of Music. I was 20 years old. Paul had a manuscript copy of Elliott’s Six Pieces for Kettledrums, which all his students were required to study and perform. I had never seen such innovative writing for timpani and was intent on learning all six pieces. In 1966, as a Creative Associate in Lukas Foss’s new music group in Buffalo, I performed these pieces on the group’s Evenings for New Music series at Carnegie Recital Hall, three each on two different programs. Elliott was in the audience and approached me after the concerts to ask me if I would be willing to get together with him (and the timpani) during his upcoming residency with the Buffalo Philharmonic, as he was considering revising the pieces. The hours we spent together resulted not only in the revision of the six original pieces but also in the composition of two new pieces for the set which became Eight Pieces for Four Timpani. Those sessions with Elliott convinced me that my decision to devote my career to working with composers on the creation of new works, particularly for or including percussion, was the right one. Here I was, a young percussionist working together with as esteemed a composer as Elliott Carter and being treated as an equal. Elliott and his music changed my life in such profound ways. I thank him not only for his brilliant music but for his humanity.