What he said about Britain made me proud:
I get more royalties for broadcast performances in that small country of England than I do in the entire United States.... I think in America everything destroys the ability to pay attention. The whole society is built on the idea that we must not pay attention to anything, so all kinds of things can be put over on us.
Is he right about composition teaching?
BD: How has the teaching of composition changed over thirty or forty years?
EC: Oh, itís changed enormously in a very unpleasant way. When I first started to teach, contemporary music was something that the teacher had to teach the student because generally the students were not terribly interested in it, or, one felt, didnít know much about it. And in truth, generally they were interested in older music but were trained comparatively little in harmony and counterpoint. Thereís been lots of books that taught them how to write contemporary music without knowing anything about harmony and counterpoint, and at a certain point you have students that donít know anything at all, who canít recognize the opening of Tristan und Isolde or who write music like Stockhausen. I began to feel that they just had absolutely no knowledge of the fundamental things that would be taught in a simple manner by harmony and counterpoint, and it became harder and harder for me to deal with this. And then finally, the last straw was when the composers decided that modern music was all finished and they wanted to write old music, but they had no idea of harmony and counterpoint. So they began to write this mess that they thought sounded like Brahms because they couldnít hear Brahms anymore in an intelligent way. I was trying to write like Brahms and Mendelssohn when I began, and now I find that students who want to write that way havenít had the faintest idea of what theyíre trying to do. They do it the most inept and stupid way. Finally I got sick of the whole thing, so I quit.
BD: Were any of your students quite promising?
EC: Well, there are, yes. Iíve had some students who were very fine. Many of my students have become very avant-garde in an old-fashioned sense. One even wrote a piece for fog horn. [laughs] It sounds funny too.
1999 interview with John Tusa here
He's delightfully contemptuous of the public, conductors, advertising and record labels. Composers should compose for themselves, not suck up to a record company. The old boy's 100 in a few months. This is wonderful:
[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Z1N9BLS0B4"]YouTube - Elliott Carter: Enchanted Preludes[/ame]