Aaron Copland
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1900-11-14
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Aaron Copland

Aaron Copland Biography (BBC)

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

Aaron Copland Biography (Wikipedia)

Aaron Copland (November 14, 1900 – December 2, 1990) was an American composer, composition teacher, writer, and later a conductor of his own and other American music. Copland was referred to by his peers and critics as "the Dean of American Composers." The open, slowly changing harmonies in much of his music are typical of what many people consider to be the sound of American music, evoking the vast American landscape and pioneer spirit. He is best known for the works he wrote in the 1930s and 1940s in a deliberately accessible style often referred to as "populist" and which the composer labeled his "vernacular" style. Works in this vein include the ballets Appalachian Spring, Billy the Kid and Rodeo, his Fanfare for the Common Man and Third Symphony. In addition to his ballets and orchestral works, he produced music in many other genres including chamber music, vocal works, opera and film scores.

After some initial studies with composer Rubin Goldmark, Copland traveled to Paris, where he first studied with Isidor Philipp and Paul Vidal, then with noted pedagogue Nadia Boulanger. He studied three years with Boulanger, whose eclectic approach to music inspired his own broad taste. Determined upon his return to the U.S. to make his way as a full-time composer, Copland gave lecture-recitals, wrote works on commission and did some teaching and writing. He found composing orchestral music in the modernist style he had adapted abroad a financially contradictory approach, particularly in light of the Great Depression. He shifted in the mid-1930s to a more accessible musical style which mirrored the German idea of Gebrauchsmusik ("music for use"), music that could serve utilitarian and artistic purposes. During the Depression years, he traveled extensively to Europe, Africa, and Mexico, formed an important friendship with Mexican composer Carlos Chávez and began composing his signature works.

This entry is from Wikipedia, the user-contributed encyclopedia. It may not have been reviewed by professional editors and is licensed under an Attribution-ShareAlike Creative Commons License. If you find the biography content factually incorrect or highly offensive you can edit this article at Wikipedia. Find out more about our use of this data.

Aaron Copland Performances & Interviews


Aaron Copland Tracks

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Aaron Copland
Tender Land Suite (Introduction; Love Music)
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Tender Land Suite (Introduction; Love Music)
Aaron Copland
Appalachian Spring (Nos 6, 7 and 8)
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Appalachian Spring (Nos 6, 7 and 8)
Aaron Copland
Symphonic Ode (2nd mvt)
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Symphonic Ode (2nd mvt)
Aaron Copland
Hoe-Down arr Thomas (Four Dance Episodes from Rodeo)
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Hoe-Down arr Thomas (Four Dance Episodes from Rodeo)
Aaron Copland
Simple Gifts (Old American Songs, Set 1)
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Simple Gifts (Old American Songs, Set 1)
Aaron Copland
Saturday Night Waltz - 4 Dance Episodes from 'Rodeo'
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Saturday Night Waltz - 4 Dance Episodes from 'Rodeo'
Aaron Copland
Appalachian Spring (opening)
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Appalachian Spring (opening)
Aaron Copland
As At First (Slowly) - Doppio Movimento - Moderato from Appalachian Spring (suite)
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As At First (Slowly) - Doppio Movimento - Moderato from Appalachian Spring (suite)
Aaron Copland
John Henry: A Railroad ballad (1940)
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John Henry: A Railroad ballad (1940)
Aaron Copland
Rodeo - 4 Dance Episodes, Hoe-down
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Rodeo - 4 Dance Episodes, Hoe-down
Aaron Copland
Corral nocturne, no.2 from Rodeo - 4 dance episodes
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Corral nocturne, no.2 from Rodeo - 4 dance episodes
Aaron Copland
Quiet City
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Quiet City
Aaron Copland
Saturday Night Waltz (Four Dance Episodes from Rodeo)
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Saturday Night Waltz (Four Dance Episodes from Rodeo)
Aaron Copland
Simple Gifts & I Bought Me a Cat (Old American Songs)
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Simple Gifts & I Bought Me a Cat (Old American Songs)
Aaron Copland
Simple Gifts from Old American Songs - set 1
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Simple Gifts from Old American Songs - set 1
Aaron Copland
Old American Songs: (Boatman's Dance; Long Time Ago; Simple Gifts; At the River)
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Old American Songs: (Boatman's Dance; Long Time Ago; Simple Gifts; At the River)
Aaron Copland
Fanfare for the Common Man (BBC Philharmonic Studio Concerts)
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Fanfare for the Common Man (BBC Philharmonic Studio Concerts)
Aaron Copland
Simple Gifts
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Simple Gifts
Aaron Copland
"The Gift to be Simple" from Appalachian spring
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"The Gift to be Simple" from Appalachian spring
Aaron Copland
Symphony For Organ And Orchestra (1924)
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Symphony For Organ And Orchestra (1924)
Aaron Copland
Appalachian spring - ballet vers. for orchestra [1945]: Allegro; Solo Dance of the Bride
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Appalachian spring - ballet vers. for orchestra [1945]: Allegro; Solo Dance of the Bride
Aaron Copland
Fanfare for the Common Man
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Fanfare for the Common Man
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Playlists featuring Aaron Copland


Past BBC Events

Proms 1975: Prom 53
http://www.bbc.co.uk/events/ebz3d4
Royal Albert Hall
1975-09-16T02:29:45
16
Sep
1975

Proms 1975: Prom 53

19:30
Royal Albert Hall
Proms 1958: Prom 22
http://www.bbc.co.uk/events/exg4wh
Royal Albert Hall
1958-08-20T02:29:45
20
Aug
1958

Proms 1958: Prom 22

19:30
Royal Albert Hall

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