Carpenter’s performances are attracting increasing attention from the critics. The New York Times praised him for producing “a seductively rich sound and demonstrating both a forceful interpretive personality and remarkable control of his instrument”. He is drawing interest from some of the world’s leading conductors and orchestras. Negotiations are under way for some high-profile performances in the next few years.
His rising profile is due, he says, to a combination of the Rolex Arts Initiative, the Naumburg Competition and the Verbier Festival where he will perform in July 2009.
In April 2009, Carpenter made his third appearance at one of the world's iconic venues, Carnegie Hall in New York.
“Performing at Carnegie Hall for a third time made me believe that pursuing a solo career on the viola is a real and tangible possibility,” says the 23-year-old New Yorker, who has made it his personal ambition to raise the viola’s reputation to new heights as a solo instrument.
For the concert in Carnegie’s Zankel Hall, Carpenter was joined by pianist Julien Quentin and performed works by Clarke, Locatelli, Bowen, Takemitsu, Penderecki, Prokofiev and Piazzolla.
“It was a remarkable feeling to walk out on stage and perform for such a big audience, including many of my friends and family members,” explains Carpenter. “As the doors opened to the stage, I was eager to give a concert in my home town since such a supportive audience eased all of my anxiety and created excitement more than anything else. It is the ‘charged’ and visceral energy of audiences that inspires me. My performances demand such energy from the audience and this infuses both purpose and clarity into the music I play.”
“I wanted to give the performance everything I could, as this was the last one linked to the Walter W. Naumburg Viola Competition [which he won in 2006]. We performed pieces by Locatelli, Takemitsu and Penderecki that most of the audience wouldn’t have heard before.”