To celebrate, the Miller Theatre at Columbia University is presenting Carter's only opera, What Next?, in four performances tonight through the big day itself. While the work dates from 1998, this is its New York premiere.
With a libretto by longtime music critic Paul Griffiths, What Next? looks at six people coping with the aftermath of the auto accident that has killed them.
The staging is by the well-known opera director Christopher Alden; Jeffrey Milarsky conducts the Juilliard-based new-music ensemble AXIOM. Soprano Susan Narucki, one of the world's top contemporary music specialists, heads the cast, with soprano Amanda Squitieri, mezzo Katherine Rohrer, boy alto Jonathan Makepeace, tenor Matthew Garrett and baritone Morgan Smith.
AXIOM will fill out the program with five brief works by Carter spanning the period 1985 to 2002.
Amazingly, Carter isn't slowing down his output as he approaches the ranks of centenarians: just three weeks ago, the Boston Symphony and soloist James Sommerville gave the world premiere of his new Horn Concerto.