Composing Freedom: Elliott Carter’s ‘Self-Reinvention’ and the Early Cold War Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • Guberman, Daniel
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Music
  • In this dissertation I examine Elliott Carter's development from the end of the Second World War through the 1960s arguing that he carefully constructed his postwar compositional identity for Cold War audiences on both sides of the Atlantic. The majority of studies of Carter's music have focused on technical aspects of his methods, or roots of his thoughts in earlier philosophies. Making use of published writings, correspondence, recordings of lectures, compositional sketches, and a drafts of writings, this is one of the first studies to examine Carter's music from the perspective of the contemporary cultural and political environment. In this Cold War environment Carter emerged as one of the most prominent composers in the United States and Europe. I argue that Carter's success lay in part due to his extraordinary acumen for developing a public persona. And his presentation of his works resonated with the times, appealing simultaneously to concert audiences, government and private foundation agents, and music professionals including impresarios, performers and other composers. This detailed study of a single composer sheds new light on how artists were able to negotiate the complex economies of the Cold War artistic environment.
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  • ... in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Department of Music.
  • Cohen, Brigid Maureen

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