InstantEncore
Biography
Arguably the 20th century's quintessential American Composer, Aaron Copland (1900-1990), often informally referred to as "the Dean of American composers" found a compelling symbiosis in the combination of modern classical music and American folk styles in much of his work.

An accomplished pianist, Copland began his formal training in Manhattan with Rubin Goldmark, who had instructed Gershwin.  He then journeyed to France and enrolled at the newly established American Conservatory at Fontainebleau, where he heard a lecture given by Nadia Boulanger.

Copland was Boulanger's first American pupil, and he experienced his first success under her guidance; after a three-year tutelage, Boulanger commissioned him to compose his Symphony for Organ and Orchestra, which enjoyed a successful premiere given by the New York Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Walter Damrosch.  Regarding the piece, composer Virgil Thomson was purported to have said, "I wept when I heard it...I thought that it was the voice of America in our generation."

Copland recognized the emergence of 'popular' music as represented by the commercial output of the nascent recording industry and sought to cater to a new audience that delighted in accessible yet sophisticated simplicity.  That he succeeded in doing so, with pieces like "El salón Mexico" (1933-36) and his first ballet "Billy The Kid" (1938), was a testament to the composer's prodigious talents of synthesis.

"Billy The Kid" answered the prayers of nationalistic dance companies who were desperate for a superlative and distinctly American repertoire that did not yet exist.  Copland completed Rodeo in 1942 and followed it up with what many consider to be his masterpiece, "Appalachian Spring", which was composed for Martha Graham in 1944.

The 1940's was perhaps the most productive decade in Copland's life, as he also premiered "Lincoln Portrait" for Narrator and Orchestra and "Fanfare for the Common Man" (both 1942), two of his signature works, in addition to the ballets.

The film industry also beckoned to Copland, and he deftly furnished the scores to several movies, including Of Mice And Men (1939), Our Town (1940) and The Red Pony (1948), even receiving an Academy award for The Heiress (1948).

Copland stretched his versatility again in the '50s through his investigations into 12-tone composition, one example of this being his Piano Fantasy (1952-57).

Copland turned predominantly to conducting during the sixties and onward, often conducting and recording his own works. 


This biography was most recently edited by...
mortenvermund - 11 Oct 2016
steven - 8 Jun 2011
steven - 8 Jun 2011
steven - 14 Dec 2010
steven - 9 Feb 2010
Simeon - 21 Jan 2010
Simeon - 20 Jan 2010
Simeon - 20 Jan 2010
Simeon - 20 Jan 2010
Simeon - 20 Jan 2010
InstantEncore