String Quartet No. 3 was commissioned in 1971 by the Julliard School for the Julliard String Quartet. It subdivides the ensemble into two duos, which play contrasting movements both individually and at the same time, exploring feelings of rivalry and cooperation.
Elliott Carter (1908-2012) was a highly regarded American composer, who continued writing innovative music into his 11th decade. His early influences included Charles Ives, Gustav Holst, Aaron Copland, and Nadia Boulanger, with whom he studied in Paris in the 1930s. He was known for always adapting and changing with the times, and became more and more popular as his stature grew through the decades.