Aaron Copland was born in Brooklyn to Jewish immigrants (on the way from Russia to America, "Koplan" or "Kaplan" became "Copland"), and he grew up comfortable with many kinds of music-making. In New York City, Copland heard pop music and jazz on the streets, and went to the 'Old Met[ropolitan opera]' to hear Bizet and Wagner. After high-school he played in dance bands at summer hotels in upstate New York. At the same time he studied composition with Rubin Goldmark, a former pupil of Dvorak.
In 1921 Copland enrolled at the American Conservatory in Fontainebleau, France. There from Nadia Boulanger he received his most important training as well as his professional launching. Boulanger introduced him to Russian-French modernism and to famous musicians, including Stravinsky and Serge Koussevitzky. She encouraged him to take jazz in particular more seriously. Sailing home in 1924, Copland felt ready to lead - to "make music and life touch".
Soon Copland developed his own techniques to handle jazz and popular music within a modernist context. Enduring works from this period include Music for the Theater (1925) and the Piano Variations (1930). Later, during the early stages of a folk revival, fed by the anxieties of the Depression and War years, Copland shifted his vernacular base from commercial music to folk traditions. El Salón México (1936), Billy the Kid (1938), Rodeo (1942) and Appalachian Spring (1944) have established his stature as the creator of an 'American sound'. Many other compositions, such as the Piano Quartet (1950), the Piano Fantasy (1957) and the Nonet for Strings (1960), still strive for more prominence in the repertoire.
Copland also wrote solid music criticism as well as books on music appreciation and contemporary music. The centenary of his birth prompted a new wave of scholarship, including the first scholarly biography of a composer somewhat taken for granted. In addition, the Music Division of the Library of Congress (USA) has digitised its Aaron Copland Collection, including musical autographs and correspondence, all now available online.
Profile © Judith Tick
- Clips (9)Latest ClipThe Music of Mexico
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- The Music of Mexicohttp://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01zvsr2.jpg2014-05-27T15:55:00ZCharles Hazlewood and the BBC Concert orchestra focus on music inspired by Mexico.http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/artists/aad3af83-5b59-4b86-a569-1a8409149b09?clipfocus=p01zvstlSelected ClipSelected ClipAudio 34 mins
The Music of Mexico
- The Benny Goodman Legacyhttp://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01zvqjr.jpg2014-05-27T15:23:00ZAt the 2009 London Jazz Festival, Alyn Shipton explores pieces written for Benny Goodman.http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/artists/aad3af83-5b59-4b86-a569-1a8409149b09?clipfocus=p01zvqk9Selected ClipSelected ClipAudio 52 mins
The Benny Goodman Legacy
- Copland: Clarinet Concertohttp://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01znhvz.jpg2014-05-23T13:55:00ZDavid Owen Norris and Richard Stoltzman explore Copland's Clarinet Concerto.http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/artists/aad3af83-5b59-4b86-a569-1a8409149b09?clipfocus=p01znhznSelected ClipSelected ClipAudio 35 mins
Copland: Clarinet Concerto
- Copland: Appalachian Spring (Chamber Version)http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01zngmv.jpg2014-05-23T13:38:00ZCharles Hazlewood delves into Aaron Copland's 1944 ballet Appalachian Spring.http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/artists/aad3af83-5b59-4b86-a569-1a8409149b09?clipfocus=p01zngn1Selected ClipSelected ClipAudio 33 mins
Copland: Appalachian Spring (Chamber Version)
- Watch an anaylsis of Copland's Concerto for Clarinet Harp and Stringshttp://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01yycfp.jpg2014-05-12T11:16:00ZWatch Alyn Shipton analyse Copland's Clarinet Concerto with extracs performed by Daniel Broncano Aguilera with Trinity College Chamber Orchestra under Andrew Gourlayhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/music/artists/aad3af83-5b59-4b86-a569-1a8409149b09?clipfocus=p01yycgkSelected ClipSelected ClipVideo 30 mins
Watch an anaylsis of Copland's Concerto for Clarinet Harp and Strings
- Aaron Coplandhttp://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01ynd1z.jpg2014-05-07T14:22:00ZThe life and music of Aaron Copland through five key relationships.http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/artists/aad3af83-5b59-4b86-a569-1a8409149b09?clipfocus=p01ynd30Selected ClipSelected ClipAudio 48 mins
- Copland: Appalachian Springhttp://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01whdm2.jpg2014-03-30T14:04:00ZMark Lowther joins Andrew McGregor live at Southbank to review recordings of Copland’s Appalachian Spring and to make a personal recommendation.http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/artists/aad3af83-5b59-4b86-a569-1a8409149b09?clipfocus=p01whdm5Selected ClipSelected ClipAudio 59 mins
Copland: Appalachian Spring
- Copland: Appalachian Springhttp://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01w12by.jpg2014-03-21T16:41:00ZHoward Goodall and Suzy Klein discuss Simple Gifts from Copland's Appalachian Spring.http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/artists/aad3af83-5b59-4b86-a569-1a8409149b09?clipfocus=p01w12c9Selected ClipSelected ClipAudio 3 mins
Copland: Appalachian Spring
- Aaron Copland - life and work through the places he lived and visitedhttp://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p018vzft.jpg2013-05-10T12:17:00ZDonald Macleod explores Copland's life and work through the places he lived and visitedhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/music/artists/aad3af83-5b59-4b86-a569-1a8409149b09?clipfocus=p018vzpjSelected ClipSelected ClipAudio 59 mins
Aaron Copland - life and work through the places he lived and visited
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