Press Releases

The Graham Ashton Brass Ensemble Celebrates Elliott Carter at 100, March 10

Date Released: 2/28/2008

The Purchase College Conservatory of Music and the Graham Ashton Brass Ensemble present “The Music of Elliott Carter: 100th Birthday Celebration” March 10 at 8 PM in the Recital Hall of the Music Building. The concert, which is free and open to the public, salutes the American composer, a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize. For more information, call 914-251-6700.

Purchase College, State University of New York, is located at 735 Anderson Hill Road, Purchase, N.Y.

The program includes Carter’s seldom-performed Brass Quintet, from 1974, recognized as a masterpiece in the brass chamber music literature. Canon for Three Equal Instruments was written in memory of Igor Stravinsky. A Fantasy About Purcell’s Fantasia Upon One Note suggests influences of neoclassicism.

The program also includes Carlo Gesualdo’s Two Motets, arranged by Sir Maxwell Davies (first performed with Graham Ashton at Dartington Summer School in 1984),  Petr Eben’s Quintetto: Variationi sul’uno corale and Hans Werner Henze’s remarkable brass ritornellos Fragmente aus einer Show.

Aaron Copland called Elliott Carter “one of America’s most distinguished creative artists in any field.” With the explorations of tempo relationships and texture that characterize his music, Carter is recognized as one of the prime innovators of 20th-century music. He received his first Pulitzer Prize in 1960 for his groundbreaking String Quartet No. 2. Igor Stravinsky hailed Carter’s Double Concerto for harpsichord, piano and two chamber orchestras (1961) and Piano Concerto (1967) as “masterpieces.” Though he spent much of the 1960s working on just two compositions, since then he has produced major orchestral scores along with numerous chamber works. His late style is marked by transparency and clarity of texture, with a new directness of formal design. Carter is the first composer to receive the United States Medal of Arts. His other awards include Germany’s Ernst Von Siemens Music Prize and most recently Monaco’s Prince Pierre Foundation Music Award. In 1988 he was made “Commandeur dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” by the French government. 

The Graham Ashton Brass Ensemble (GABE) is the Ensemble-in-Residence at the Purchase College School of the Arts, Conservatory of Music. It was founded in London in 1992 by Graham Ashton and reformed in 1999 when he was appointed Chair of Brass at Purchase College. Acclaimed as one of the world’s most innovative ensembles, GABE has performed concerts throughout Europe, the United States, Scandinavia and Australia, and recorded for EMI Virgin, SONY, Signum and Chandos. GABE features Ashton and J. Roderick MacDonald, trumpets; Ann Ellsworth, horn; Dick Clark, tenor trombone; and James Markey, bass trombone. GABE’s most recent album is Scenes of Spirits.

This concert will be repeated by the Graham Ashton Brass Ensemble at Symphony Space in New York City on March 17. For more information, visit