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Famed Composer Suggests Including Piano in Sale of Greenwich Village Pad

By James Fanelli | December 24, 2012 9:31am | Updated on December 24, 2012 10:18am

GREENWICH VILLAGE — It's a real estate listing that could be music to an aparment hunter's ears.

Internationally renowned composer Elliott Carter Jr. lived in his Greenwich Village co-op for more than six decades, spending his days scoring Pulitzer Prize-winning pieces on his piano in his workroom.

Carter died at 103 at his home on Nov. 5, and his will, filed in Manhattan Surrogate Court earlier this month, suggests that when his executors sell his pad, they consider throwing in his Steinway.

"In the event that my piano is to be sold by my executor ... I recommend that my executor offer to include my said piano in the sale of my cooperative apartment," Carter says in the will.

In an interview with Bloomberg in June, the musician said he and his wife, Helen Frost-Jones, bought the apartment in 1945, with his mother giving him the Steinway as a move-in present.

Carter grew up in Manhattan and said he fell in love with Greenwich Village in high school when he and his chums would hole up in its speakeasies.

He and his wife paid $15,000 for their place, and Carter said in June it was now worth $2 million. 

Barbara Fox, the president of real estate brokerage Fox Residential Group, said that including the piano as part of a listing wouldn't raise the apartment's value — unless the buyer happens to be fan of Carter's work.

"If the buyer's a musician or has some great love for this particular musician, that would be to me the only reason to include," she said.

Tricia Bonner, a lawyer representing Carter's estate, declined to comment.

The Harvard-educated Carter had a prolific career of composing avant-garde and contemporary music. The explosion of creativity lasted late into life. He completed his first opera at 90, and in June the New York Philharmonic premiered a piece it commissioned from him.

In his will he left the majority of his manuscripts and scores to the Paul Sacher Foundation. He also left his collection of books to the New York Public library.